The first gay couple in New York state to marry including many different faiths in their ceremony including the ancient Celtic tradition of handfasting.
Kitty Lambert and Cheryle Rudd, who were married at Niagara Falls at midnight on July 25, had Baptist, Jewish and Episcopalian clergy over see their wedding vows. Their ceremony was capped by a Celtic handfasting ceremony followed by dancing on the lawn to Lady Gaga's "The Edge of Glory".
Handfasting originally was a ceremony carried out to mark the trial marriage of a couple or engagement. It was a public ceremony where the couple would make known their intention to marry in one year and a day from the date of the ceremony. The ritual died off when Celtic Christianity was abandoned for the Catholic Church. The ceremony has recently regain popularity among non-Pagans and especially among those who have distant ancestors in distant Celtic lands.
The local couple, Lambert and Rudd, had the honor of being the first gay couple married in New York state. They exchanged rings, completed the handfasting ceremony, sent out wishes to the 44 states that don't recognize same-sex marriage ceremony and then danced on the lawns next to the waterfalls.
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Lambert (54) said "We’re so proud of everybody who crawled up this hill with us. This wasn’t done with just the two of us. Every single person here played a part in getting this law passed.”
Lambert, wore a light blue dress, another tradition which is carried on from the Celts.
The couple, who have been together for 12 years, started the advocacy group OUTspoken together. Their fight for marriage equality has been difficult. During the last 12 years Rudd has battled cervical and thyroid cancer and Lambert has suffered three heart attacks.
Lambert pointed out to the Buffalo News "By law, because I had my last heart attack in Arizona, if I had died, they wouldn’t have notified her, they couldn’t have notified her. And those are critical issues, those are critical things that people have to consider."
"At this exact moment in time, New Yorkers still stand without any protection,” Lambert told reporters as the sun came down Saturday on Goat Island. "But when that bell tolls with us at midnight tonight, and a new day dawns, literally a new day will dawn in New York. In not just the physical sense, but in that grand romantic sense that things are changing and life is good.”