Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Connie Kopelov, of First Gay Couple Legally Married in New York, Dies at 90

Saddened to read about the passing of the gay-rights pioneer.

The New York Times writes:
Connie Kopelov, whose wedding to Phyllis Siegel in 2011 was the first legal same-sex marriage in New York City, died in Manhattan on Saturday. She was 90. Her death was confirmed by Ms. Siegel, who said Ms. Kopelov had been in the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Ms. Kopelov and Ms. Siegel had been partners for 23 years when they were married by the city clerk on July 24, 2011 — the same day that a state law took effect allowing same-sex couples to marry. That morning, Ms. Kopelov, then 85, and Ms. Siegel, 76, were the first couple through the door of the marriage bureau, on Worth Street in Lower Manhattan. The City Council speaker at the time, Christine C. Quinn, a lesbian and prominent gay rights activist, stood in attendance around 9 a.m. as the clerk, Michael McSweeney, said, “I now pronounce you married.” Ms. Siegel held Ms. Kopelov’s head and kissed her on the left cheek. Ms. Kopelov smiled and held her marriage license aloft. “I lost my breath,” Ms. Siegel said in March, recalling the moment. “It was just the most exciting loss of breath I’ve ever had. I just was so happy.” From that day on, Ms. Siegel said, people would stop them on the street and congratulate them.

Connie Kopelov (right), 84, and Phyllis Siegel, 76, held up their marriage certificate to celebrate as they exited the Manhattan City Clerk's office after getting married July 24, 2011 in New York City, on the first day gay couples were allowed to legally do so in New York state, after Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the historic legislation into law.

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