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First Comes Love, 29 Years Later Comes Marriage

YORKTOWN, N.Y.--Smiling faces gather and grow in the pictures that line the walls and table tops of a house, showing the passing of time, telling the story of a family.

Yet, there is one house on Elizabeth Road that has three decades worth of pictures lining the walls, and still, one significant image is missing. The wedding picture.

And until last month, that wedding photo could not have been taken at the wedding of the family who live in this house, but this Saturday that photo, and many others will be taken.

This Saturday Gary Porto and Ruben Santiago will be able to say their wedding vows, and be married at Yorktown Town Hall, after 29 years together. This is the first gay marriage to take place in Yorktown since the Marriage Equality Act passed in New York .

In the home the two have shared together for 18 years, it’s hard to imagine what more a wedding could bring. They live together, they’ve shared their lives together, milestones of family gatherings, retirements and holidays for nearly three decades.

“It’s more than just a piece of paper,” Porto says. “It’s a milestone. It’s having the relationship you’ve shared with the love of your life finally recognized, the same way everyone else can have it recognized.”

What date did they meet?

“March 20, 1983,” they echo, then laugh.

Their anniversary will be quite easy to remember, numerically.  Their wedding is set to take place on 9/10/11 at 12 p.m.

“It’s symbolic, somehow,” Santiago says. 9/10/11 was the first date he selected for their wedding, but he was swayed by his to-be-husband to change it to August 29, his birthday. Irene, the tropical storm had other plans however and the couple was left with their original choice.

Now, Gary Porto and Ruben Santiago can put their wedding photo adjacent to Porto’s parents wedding photo in the home they’ve shared for 18 years.

The couple said they never wanted to marry elsewhere as Yorktown, and New York are their home.

“When we moved here the neighbors all embraced us, and that was quite a long time ago. Within an hour of our moving truck driving away people were introducing themselves saying hello,” Porto said.

“This is our home, this is where we were born and raised. It wouldn’t be the same to be married somewhere else,” Santiago added.

To them, Saturday is literally a dream, three decades, and a lifetime come true.

“Everyone has the right to have a dream, to dream to one day be married, to fall in love, to have a family and grow up and be happy,” Porto said

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