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Hundreds of same-sex couples say 'I do' in New York

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Forty-one other states prohibit gay marriage, through laws or constitutional amendments that reserve the right to wed for opposite-sex couples, according to a count by the Human Rights Campaign.

New York City organized an online lottery earlier in the week for couples to reserve spots at the City Clerk’s offices, which grants marriage licenses and can perform civil marriage ceremonies. By the close of the lottery on Thursday, 823 couples had applied for 764 spots.

Soon after, the city announced that all 823 applicant couples could wed on Sunday, which would surpass the city’s previous single-day record of 621 marriages performed on Valentine’s Day 2003. More than 60 judges in the city and dozens of others around the state volunteered to sign forms Sunday to waive the required 24-hour waiting period between the issuance of a marriage license and the wedding ceremony.

Many gay couples hoping to wed on Sunday said they had been disappointed by the state legislature’s past failures to approve previous same-sex marriage bills, and were worried they would never become legal spouses.

“We’ve been let down so many times before,” said Rhonda Waldon, as she waited in line to marry her partner of 16 years, Kim Waldon.

Kim Waldon had her surname legally changed in 2005. In 2008, the women traveled to California to be married – only to be thwarted by Proposition 8, a ballot initiative passed that November, which made same-sex marriages unconstitutional in that state.

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