Monday, July 25, 2011
I had intended to travel to City Hall on Sunday morning to witness and photograph New York's first day of legal same-sex marriage. However, my reluctance to set out early morning to brave another day of heat and humidity prevented me from doing so.
Late at night, before returning home, I was alerted by a friend that one gay couple that had been married was lingering in Washington Square Park. How fortuitous - part of the event had come to me.
I sprinted over to the couple and congratulated them. I learned that Sas Velez, 49 and Mery Napoles, 47, were the last couple to be married - something that garnered media attention. Sas showed me their ticket, numbered 685.
The couple currently lives in New Jersey. Sas, who hails from Brooklyn, and Mery, born in Cuba, were previously married in Massachusetts but felt that they wanted to do this in New York City - a place they both feel is their spiritual home and where they work.
They were a warm, wonderful couple and were happy to accommodate my request for photos, answer any questions I asked about details of their relationship, and allow me to make them public.
Mery (in the wedding dress) has 4 children by a previous marriage - Catherine, Amanda, Kristen and Evan. This was a marriage with full openness regarding Mery's sexual orientation. She never had an intimate relationship with a woman until age 40, when she met Sas.
This was a watershed event for gay couples, which was a long time coming. I understand that there were some naysayers at the event, brandishing signs that read "God Cannot Be Mocked." These, however, are becoming the lone voices in a rapidly changing world.
Before leaving, I asked Sas for their full names and email addresses. When she had completed writing, I noticed that only one email address had been given (Sas's). As I began to ask for Mery's, Sas gestured with her finger pointing back and forth to both of them while saying that perhaps I did not need both emails, since they were together. Ah, yes, for a moment I had forgotten - they were an item now, since they had Just Married…
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