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Three New York gay couples talk about their weddings on July 24, 2011

Happily ever after

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Photo gallery

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Maggie Lally (left) and Lisa Fane have been together for 15 years but only received a marriage license two years ago, on July 24, 2011 — the first day same-sex marriage became legal in New York.
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Edwin Ramos (left) and Taz Vallas in their garden in Bay Ridge.
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Barbara Tremblay (left) and Stacey Minondo at home in their Downtown Brooklyn apartment.

On July 24, 2011 — the day same-sex marriage became legal in New York — Wedding Pride interviewed 13 couples that rushed to City Hall to get married. Two years later, we caught up with a few to ask them about legally wedded bliss.

Maggie Lally and Lisa Fane

Maggie Lally of Park Slope credits simple gestures like remembering to order baba ganoush or buying soy-substitute as the reason why her wife, Lisa Fane, has been with her for 15 years.

“She’s a vegetarian and I’m not,” says Lally. “I always make sure there’s a vegetarian option for her so she has something.”

Fane, on the other hand, claims their longevity is due to something a little less intangible.

“There’s just a bond that’s there. We can go about and live our lives from that place,” says Fane.

The pair, though deeply committed, have only been legally bonded for two years and wanted to wait until gay marriage was legal in New York before tying the knot.

“It would be meaningless without the acknowledgment of the place we live,” says Lally. “If it’s not going to be here, it’s just a charade.”

Plus, they couldn’t resist being part of such an historical moment.

“It was a very powerful experience to share with so many people who felt similarly,” says Lally. “We felt married, but now it’s recognized.”

Last summer, the two women had a party to celebrate their one-year wedding anniversary and invited their whole family. To the women, the celebration felt like a delayed wedding reception because most of their loved ones did not attend their small, civil ceremony at Brooklyn’s Borough Hall.

“It was a wonderful event,” says Lally. “It was so comfortable, so casual, and so joyous.”

The celebration also helped Fane realize that sometimes you need something a little more than just an intangible bond — that a legally recognized marriage is important. “You’re not just marrying each other,” said Fane. “It’s a coming together of families and a meshing of a whole support structure.”

Taz Vallas and Edwin Ramos

Bay Ridge pair, Taz Vallas and Edwin Ramos, legally married in Hawaii long before gay marriage was legalized in New York. The men got a license from the Aloha State at the Community Church of New York 17 years ago and traded it in for their Empire State version in 2011. To celebrate their Big Apple nuptials, the couple left for a Caribbean getaway so that Vallas could meet Ramos’ family in Puerto Rico.

Two years later, the couple is still going strong.

“It brings security to your soul,” says Ramos of marriage.

Vallas and Ramos have also considered having children, but at the moment are happy with their three schnauzers.

Vallas and Ramos make it a point to always tell the truth and share their opinions with each other. The couple credits this honest communication for their happy relationship.

“It’s not only about sex and kisses,” said Ramos.

And what message does the very open Ramos hope that heterosexual New Yorkers gain from marriage equality?

“I hope gay people teach straight people that marriage is something you can enjoy with your partner no matter what sex you are.”

Barbara Tremblay and Stacey Minondo

Downtown Brooklyn spouses, Barbara Tremblay and Stacey Minondo, say they have had two marriages — a love and a legal marriage. The pair had a ceremony with family in 2010 and exactly a year and a week later they got married legally. They both have two rings, one from each ceremony, that they’ve had welded together.

“After 10 years we’re in it for the long haul,” said Tremblay.

A legal marriage gives their relationship an extra level of legitimacy, according to Tremblay. And she enjoys clearly stating Minondo as her “wife” rather than her more ambiguous “partner.”

“It’s not a question anymore — it is what it is,” says Tremblay.

But the fight is not over yet. The couple still has to take precautions to make sure they are legally covered for certain things that opposite-sex couples do not have have to worry about (to learn more about this, read our article “The DOMA dilemma.”) Tremblay remembers how she felt when she found out that she was not allowed to leave work to care for Minondo under the “Family and Medical Leave Act” when Minondo got very sick and almost needed massive surgery.

“It’s wild that it’s still a conversati­on,” she said. “But I think it’s just going to take society a little longer.”

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