There was dancing in Manhattan's streets on Sunday, as participants in the 42nd New York City Pride March, including Governor Andrew Cuomo, took what they considered to be a victory lap for same-sex marriage. NY1's Tara Lynn Wagner filed the following report.
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The annual show of pride at the New York City Pride March took on an extra exuberance on Sunday, as one million-plus people marching and watching had something special to celebrate -- the passage of a same-sex marriage bill in New York State.
"It's a big, big year. It's the best year," said an onlooker.
"Love it. I've got to move to New York so I can get married," said another.
What began in 1970 as a political demonstration to mark the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in Greenwich Village, which helped trigger the modern gay rights movement, has now become an all-out party.
Many cheered this year that their next march will be down the aisle.
"It's more exciting, it's more positive. It's less angry and political," said a participant. "We're not demanding stuff, we're celebrating something very important that we should have gotten a long time ago."
Along the route, many in the crowd displayed signs thanking Governor Andrew Cuomo, who was marching almost two days after signing the bill, and cheered on other major supporters like Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
"We've been engaged since October and we wanted desperately to get married in New York. We're so happy and so grateful for him, to step forward for what is right," said a paradegoer.
"I've been in this parade many times and there's always a lot of energy and I've had a ball, but this was special. This really was," said Cuomo. "There was such energy in this parade. People were so proud, literally. You could just see it and it was really special to be part of."
"There wasn't one person on the side who wasn't either jumping up and down or screaming or crying. It was really just unbelievable, the unadulterated joy that was pouring out of people," said Quinn.
Many said the legislation is a huge step in the right direction, but also acknowledged there is still work to be done. Besides New York, only five other states -- Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont -- and Washington, D.C. allow same-sex marriage.
Some said now that New York has marriage equality, momentum for a national law will increase.
"I hope that I live to see it. But it's going to happen, no doubt. It's going to happen," said a paradegoer.
The parade's grand marshals include columnist Dan Savage and his partner Terry Miller, who founded the "It Gets Better" movement, which helps empower teenage victims of bullying, harassment and homophobia.
Savage said such events like this are vital, not only just for New Yorkers celebrating their new marriage rights, but also for gay people in smaller communities around the country.
"Kids all over the country are going to hear about parades all over the country today and the thousands of people who are out and proud and all the gays and lesbians integrated fully into their communities, and that's going to give them hope," said Savage.
David Martinez flew in from New Mexico to join the celebration.
"This is encouragement for all gay and lesbians across the U.S., that we do have hope," said Martinez.
The celebration finished Sunday night with a large dance party at Pier 54 on Manhattan's West Side.
City Clerk's Office Prepares For Many More Marriages
Before the Marriage Equality Act takes effect next month, the City Clerk's office is preparing itself for a flood of same-sex couples looking to wed.
The mayor's office says the city is allowing people to apply ahead of time on July 5, although licenses will not be issued until the new law goes into effect on July 25.
City officials say looking at the number of early requests will help determine the amount of resources they will need in the first days of the process
The city's tourism website already has a list of frequently asked questions in place for gay couples wanting to wed in New York.
Celebrations over marriage equality started Friday night and continued through Saturday, with a lesbian march making its way down Fifth Avenue into Greenwich Village.
Veterans of the Stonewall Inn riots also gathered in the Village on Saturday, to remember the 1969 event that sparked the modern gay rights movement.
Many elected officials who supported same-sex marriage spent Saturday with their constituents, celebrating the bill's passage.
In Jackson Heights, Queens, gay rights supporters and elected officials cut a wedding cake to celebrate the legalization of same-sex marriage.
Gay Marriage Opponents Weigh In
Also on Sunday, Archbishop Timothy Dolan, a vocal same-sex marriage opponent, did not mention gay marriage during Mass at Saint Patrick's Cathedral, but told NY1 afterward that his stance is pro-marriage and not anti-gay.
"I'd say to the gay community, I love you very much. If anything I ever said or did would lead you to believe that I have anything less than love and respect for you, I apologize, but that doesn't take away from my resolute disappointment to this particular measure," said Dolan.
The archbishop called on state lawmakers to vote against the bill.
The Catholic Church believes marriage should only exist between a man and a woman.
Meanwhile, several prominent Republican politicians also shared their views Sunday on the same-sex marriage law.
On NBC's "Meet the Press," New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said he believes in marriage between a man and a woman, and added he will not sign a bill like the one that passed in New York.
"My view on it is in our state, we're going to continue to pursue civil unions. I am not a fan of same-sex marriage. It is not something that I support," Christie said.
Republican presidential candidate and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann took a more diplomatic tone, saying on "Fox News Sunday" that states can pass any law they want.
"I think it's best if there's an amendment that goes on the ballot where the people can weigh in. Every time this issue has gone on the ballot, the people have voted to maintain the traditional definition of marriage," said Bachmann.
She said would support a constitutional amendment that would overturn the new law in New York.