Yolanda Potasinski and Nancy Mertzel have called one another "partner" since 1997. After their wedding yesterday in New York, which married gay couples for the first time, now they can make it "wife."
Clerks' offices statewide and in New York City's five boroughs, which are usually closed on Sundays, opened to honor the law that legislators passed in Albany last month and that took effect yesterday. With 19.4 million residents, New York was the sixth and most populous U.S. state to legalize gay marriages.
Potasinski, the 55-year-old executive director of an Upper West Side synagogue, took her place in line outside the borough clerk's office on Worth Street in Lower Manhattan at 4:30 a.m. and was soon followed by hundreds ready to exchange vows. Some couples wore white dresses or suits. Others sported jeans and flip-flops. Onlookers held signs of support and passersby in taxis rolled down windows to shout their congratulations.