Same-sex weddings begin in Syracuse

Same-sex couples apply for marriage licenses at Syracuse city hall. / Jack Estabrook

L et the weddings begin!

On Sunday, Brian Bojarski and Matt Michalenko of Syracuse became the first local same-sex couple to get married. Surrounded by family, friends and their 7-year-old son, the couple said their vows with Judge Dougherty presiding. Michalenko became emotional when reciting his vows.

"From the first time I met him I kew we were going to spend the rest of our life together," Michalenko said. "We're soulmates, best friends and partners."

The couple, which owns Industry Salon in Syracuse, first met at a party years ago and have been waiting for this moment.

"Very happy that we are finally married after 18 years, we've been waiting and waiting and waiting," Michalenko said.

The couple was originally going to get married next weekend, but decided not to wait and got an affidavit approved Sunday to waive the 24-hour waiting period.

"We just wanted to be part of history and share this day, have our anniversary be a historical day," Bojarski said.

The same-sex marriage law went into effect Sunday at midnight, making New York state the 6th and largest state to legalize same sex marriage. The Syracuse city clerk's office opened up at 10:00 a.m. Sunday to grant marriage licenses.

Linda Burt and Lucinda Kinney were there to get a license. The couple had a ceremony 29 years ago that was not recognized by the state. They will be getting married on Monday, after three decades together, and say it's about time.

"The original person that stood up with us the first time is going to be with us again the next time, and so is our son," Kinney said.

On Sunday there were cheers inside city hall as couples filed out marriage licenses and flowers were given out. Guilio Santangelo and Ron Carey brought their two children to city hall. They never thought this moment would come.

"I'm extremely excited, this is great, we've been waiting for this for a long time," Santangelo said.

Their 7-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son drew them pictures saying they loved their fathers as they waited.

"Nice, happy, excited for my dads," said 7-year-old Alita Carey-Santangelo.

For the couple that holds the title of "first married," having their son at their wedding meant everything.

"It's nice to share this with him," Bojarski said. "And for him to see also this part of history in New York state and to know he can go to school and tell all his friends my two dads are married now too and share that family that everyone else has."