Legal Marriage Caps Off A Couple's Three-Decade Commitment
For a Manhattan couple that was one of hundreds slated to get married in the five boroughs on Sunday, legal marriage allows the state to official recognize the family they have built for themselves. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.
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The romance of Doug Robinson and Michael Elsasser started on the A train some 30 years ago.
"It was locking eyes, that was it," Robinson said.
On Sunday, they became one of the first same-sex couples to legally marry in New York State, one month after the state Legislature approved the measure. The marriage license comes 17 years after their original commitment ceremony.
Their children have grown up and they have built a home.
"In our day-to-day lives, nothing will change. We'll get up tomorrow and go to work. We'll do the food shopping, washing the dishes, all the kinds of things we do as a couple, that's what will continue," said Robinson. "It's just that now the state is recognizing us as an official couple and that's a wonderful thing."
Like any wedding day, Sunday started very early and was coupled with nerves and excitement.
"Just excited," said Robinson
"I'm not nervous, I can't wait to see everybody down there," Elsasser said.
It culminated at the clerk's office, where crowds of couples wrapped the block.
Robinson and Elsasser were already inside. They did not use new rings, but traded the same ones they have been wearing for years.
When they left the building, they were legal spouses.
They capped off the ceremony in Harlem, at their favorite restaurant where they go every week, and where friends and family gathered to offer official congratulations.
It was a historic moment filled with hugs, music, champagne toasts and a Moroccan flare.
"You can feel it in the room. There wasn't a dry eye in the room in there. My parents have been fighting for this ever since I was a kid," said Zack Robinson, the couple's son.
After more than two decades, the couple was ready to celebrate.
"I think everyone can be happy and rejoice in the marriages today," said Elsasser.
They will likely continue that party for days to come.