While millions of people celebrated World Pride and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising in New York City, members of the LGBTQ community celebrated a wedding ceremony in Niagara Falls.Looking out on Terrapin Point and the Horseshoe Falls, over a dozen couples gathered on Goat Island in the Niagara Falls State Park on June 30 to express their love and commitment to their partners in Married with Pride.
The gathered couples came from as far away as Florida and Georgia. It included couples who have been married for only a few years to one couple who finally decided to marry after being together for 43 years.Leader for Niagara County Pride Ronald Piaseczny opened the ceremonies with a greeting for the crowd and introduced Pastor Sue – Sue Frawley – who opened her benediction with the words “Queerly beloved”. She ended with not just an Amen, but with an Awomen as well. Program manager for the Pride Center of Western New York Steve Jagord spoke before New York State Legislator Harry Bonson spoke about being present when New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Marriage Equality Bill in 2011 and brought one of the pens that the governor used to sign the bill into law for the couple to use on their official documents. Singer Andrew Eisenhardt performed an A Capella rendition of the Bette Midler song “The Rose”.
Gay activist and ordained Kitty Lambert-Rudd performed the official vows portion of the ceremony. She spoke from the heart to the couples of love and devotion.When the Marriage Equality Law took effect in 2011, Kitty and her partner Cheryle became the first same sex couple to be legally married in New York with a ceremony just after midnight. Ron closed out Married with Pride by thanking all those who attended and helped to make the even possible. He also invited everyone to the Rainbow Reception being held outside the Hard Rock Cafe.
Out on the street next to the Hard Rock Cafe the street was blocked off and a stage was erected where DJ Milk and his mates not only got the party started, but kept things going with plenty of dance music.
The queens even came down off the stage to perform on the street among the crowd.It was a day of Pride and celebration that not only saw couples expressing their love; but also, a community who came together to show that love will always win. And as Kitty Lambert-Rudd pointed out love is a living thing that changes and grows.
Celebrating Pride is only a month long, but love lasts a lifetime as the couples who gathered in the park to celebrate and make their vows showed.