Behind Every Marriage Certificate - A Story
Meet six gay Latino couples who tied the knot in New York City on a historic Sunday morning.  


The First Couple

Names:  Marcos Chaljub, 29 (left) and Freddy Zambrano, 30 (right)

Nationalities: Marcos is Dominican; Freddy is Ecuadorian.

Length of Relationship:  5 Years



Love at First Sight

How does it feel?

Freddy: It feels amazing. What can I say, we are apart of history right now. To be the first Latino male couple, it’s incredible. It's so difficult to explain; the emotions are just everywhere.

What does this mean for Latino families?

It means a lot. Just because the whole background of Machisimo in the Latino household. This is a stepping stone to let Latinos know that we are equal.

How did you both meet? 

We met online. It started as hanging out as friends and the minute I met him, his personality drew me in. It was kind of  a love at first sight situation, it really was.

How'd you become the first couple?

Funny enough, we were first going to the Queens County office, but somehow speaker Quinn saw us on TV and she wanted us to be one of the first couples.

Why is it important then to be the first day?

What better day to do it then the most historic day, obviously. We were so looking forward to it. When we found out the law had passed it was on the eve of our anniversary we just made five years. So it was almost like, you know, things were kind of falling into place, and it was totally meant to be, so we have to do this.

What are you doing after this?

We are going to a nice little brunch. But funny enough, we got surprised by a great group of friends with a little impromptu reception. We didn’t expect that. We really appreciated that.

(Bryan Llenas)


Proud to be a New Yorker

Names: Daniel Hernández, 53 (right) Nevin Cohen, 48 (left)

Nationality: Hernández is third generation Mexican-American.

Length of Relationship: 12 Years



How did you both meet?

We met at a party at a mutual friend's house. We’ve been together ever since.

How was the ceremony?

Daniel: It was a very traditional ceremony. It was exactly the legal framework you sort of see on TV but it was real. So to actually experience [it] that is something I’d never imagine would happen in my life.

Just having your friends there was great.

Feelings right now?  

Nevin: Getting married is an emotional event anyway. But then being part of being a bigger celebration around equality makes it that much more special.

Daniel: It makes me proud to be a New Yorker. It’s incredible. Love just transcends hate. We are in a loving relationship. I’m hoping people will continue to realize this.

What does this mean for Latino families?

Daniel: You know I grew up in a really traditional Mexican-American household. Catholic. I was an altar boy. My family is really supportive. They love Nevin. They treat him like a son. I think it’s really sort of indicative of parents being able to transcend a lot of the other traditions they live with. My parents are an incredible example of sort of saying, "I love my son, and I love what he's done. I love what he does and I'm going to support him." That makes me closer to them and it makes them closer to me.

I think for any Latino community where family is so important, they are role models for creating a loving environment for their kids.

I meet young gay people all of the time and I know they come from difficult environments.

Any family plans?

Nevin: No we don’t have family plans. We have a crazy dog.  

Daniel: We had thought about it before. But I’m 53, I may not be able to handle an infant in the household anymore. (Laughs)

Why wait for New York?

Daniel: This was home. We wanted to be married in our home state where we pay taxes as apart of the citizenry. That was a big driving force for us to feel that we were equal in every way, and that our relationship was equal with other married couples in the state.

What are you doing after?

Daniel: We are going out with friends. Very special friends, people who introduced me to Nevin and people who have been very supportive of our relationship for a long time.

(Bryan Llenas)


California Lovin'

Names: Nirvana Galvez, 35 (left), Ruth Galvez, 37

Nationalities: Both are Mexican-American and traveled to New York City from San Diego, California.

Length of Relationship: 10 Years

How did you both meet?

Nirvana: We met at a club 10 years ago through a mutual friend. We traveled from San Diego to be here. As part of our 10th anniversary, we wanted to make sure we were here to be a part of this moment.

What are your doing after this? Any honeymoon plans?

Nirvana: “It’s been 10 years of honeymoon. We are going to continue to live our lives together.”

Your feelings right now?

Ruth: Feliz, muy feliz.

Nirvana: Happy, this law makes our dreams come true. Marriage allows us to be recognized as family in the U.S.

(Bryan Llenas)


Finally...After 36 Years

Names: Nelson Rodríguez, 56 Juan Rodríguez, 59

Nationalities: Both are Puerto Rican.

Length of Relationship: 36 Years

How did you both meet?

Nelson: We met in a disco in 1975. We were introduced by a mutual friend of ours from Puerto Rico.

Why wait for New York?

Juan: We love New York, We had to do it here. There was no question about it. We knew other states had created same sex marriage equality laws. But we are faithful to New York. We were hoping that this year it would go through and luckily it happened. We are very grateful. Our faith in the state has worked well.

Why is it important to be here on the first day?

Juan: Basically to make a deliberate statement for our civil rights and human rights. As working people in this country and in this state, and tax paying citizens all of our lives, we have the right to be happy and share the same rights as everyone else. Just because we are the same sex it shouldn’t be any different.

Juan: There is love, and love doesn’t have sex, or color or anything. It’s just there. To those folks who tend to look at the bible that was the preaching. It didn’t say love this way or love that way – it just said love.

Do you feel any different?

Juan: After 36 years we are so complete in our relationship. Basically It’s a formal stance because this great state has provided this opportunity for all same sex couples. I think it’s a milestone and historic.

What are you doing afterwards?

Nelson: We have a ceremony on August 20 with friends and family members hosted by my boss.

Message to the Latino community?

Juan: The Latino community has more influence in terms of religious teachings and moral followings. So it’s been very difficult. But I think slowly it’s getting there and this will help advance or make people more tolerant and understanding.

(Bryan Llenas)


I Feel Like a Pioneer

Names: Michelle Embroz-Suárez, Nicole Cranker 

How did they meet?

They are both from Beacon, New York. They went to pick up their marriage license. They have been together for two years after having crossed each other in their paths. A photo on Facebook (Nicole was in the picture with Michelle's friend) finally set it off. They are both set to get married Wednesday.

How are you feeling?

Michelle: Today is a beautiful day. Not only is it beautiful but it's historical. It's even more exciting.

What kind of message does this send?

Michelle: I believe that the younger the generation the more power that they have because people look at the young generation as not having an opinion in state matters and what not. But I feel like our generation had a (huge) voice. I feel like if our generation...starts a movement for absolute freedom not only for same-sex but also for loving every body for who they are. Everybody deserves equal rights. I feel like we are pioneers. New York is just part of the beginning.

(Adry Torres)


For Our Son

Names: Yashica Martínez (left), Kathy Almodovar. 

Length of Relationship: 10 Years

Where are they from?

From Castle Hill in The Bronx. 

How are you feeling?

We had butterflies waiting.

What is your message today?

Martínez: They say it was a privilege. Its not a privilege, it's an equal opportunity to be able to marry the person you love just like everyone else. It's not a special privilege, it's an equal privilege.

I'm just glad we were part of history and able to do it. We were able to accomplish what we set to accomplish without having to file for domestic partnership, civil union. We have an actual marriage certificate. We have 10 years. A 5-year-old son, a family. We just want to be able to enjoy the same privileges that everyone else has.

(Adry Torres)


July 24: From left, couples Nevin Cohen and Daniel Hernández, Carol Anastasio and Miriam Brown, all of New York, and Marcos Chaljub and Freddy Zambrano, of Astoria, in the Queens borough of New York, celebrate after getting married at the Manhattan City Clerk's office in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)



July 24: Electric violinist,  Lorenzo Laroc, plays outside the Manhattan City Clerk's Office.

(Bryan Llenas)


July 24: Couples were inundated with colorful flowers, cheers, music, bubbles, glitter and, yes – tons of press.

(Bryan Llenas)


July 24: Couples were inundated with colorful flowers, cheers, music, bubbles, glitter and yes- tons of press.

(Bryan Llenas)

Celebrity Women

July 24: These women made it a point to lei every couple that came out of the Manhattan City Clerk's Office.

(Bryan Llenas)


July 24: Same-sex couples waited in line to receive marriage licenses at the Manhattan City Clerk's office in New York. 



July 24: They came in the hundreds to receive marriage licenses at the Manhattan City Clerk's office in New York. 

(Bryan Llenas)


July 24: This was one of the few protesters outside the Manhattan City Clerk's office. Police set up barricades around the man.

(Bryan Llenas)

Behind Every Marriage Certificate - A Story

Meet six gay Latino couples who tied the knot in New York City on a historic Sunday morning.  

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