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First Comes Love, Then Wedding for Yorktown Men

YORKTOWN, N.Y. - Gary Porto got just what he wanted last Saturday when he had rice thrown at him as left Town Hall with his new husband Ruben Santiago.

Porto and Santiago became the first homosexual couple to marry in Yorktown. They waited 29 years to marry, 18 of those spent in their home of Yorktown.

“Because we’ve had to wait for it, because we had to fight to get it, it has more of an impact,” Porto said.

Porto and Santiago were married in Yorktown Town Hall by Town Clerk Alice Roker as an audience of friends and family watched. Santiago stood at the lectern at Town Hall as Porto was led down the aisle by his parents. Friends, noticing the lack of an organ to play the wedding march, hummed the tune themselves.

“It’s more special than a regular wedding, I think, because it’s so groundbreaking, it’s momentous, and it’s historic,” Santiago said.

The couple said being the first in Yorktown means a lot to them because it’s where they are from and because they are hoping their marriage will help to educate others.

“We’ve lived her for 18 years. We have neighbors, we pay taxes. I was involved in the town before this, things like when there were sewer problems I spoke up," Porto said. "I’m doing this because I think if people can put a face to this, they realize I’ve been their neighbor for this long and I’m a person in their community. it will help to stop ignorance, and help those in fear.”

The couple, who have been domestic partners for 20 years, said they do everything with love and dedication. They each work with children in challenging fields. Santiago is a health care administrator, working specifically with children of families who have socio-economic problems, while Porto is a retired teacher from the Bronx who worked with emotionally disturbed children as a special education teacher.

Homosexual couples don’t have all the same benefits and rights heterosexual couples do, since the Marriage Equality Act is recognized in New York but is not a federal law.

“We’re one step closer to getting what the rest of the citizens of New York have, and that’s an inalienable right for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” Porto said.

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