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Friends, family gathered in Falls for same-sex marriage

NIAGARA FALLS -- With New York State poised to make same-sex marriage legal at 12:01 a.m. Sunday, the celebration near the cataracts has been in full swing since early this evening. (Click here for the very latest.)

Longtime couple Kitty Lambert and Cheryle Rudd were wed by Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster at 12:01 a.m. next to the roaring natural wonder. The couple had been celebrating with about 200 friends and family in a picnic area on Goat Island. They made their wedding a public event to celebrate the Marriage Equality Act that Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law a month ago and will go into effect Sunday.

"Why so public? Because this will be good for Western New York and I'm marrying the most remarkable woman ever," Lambert told The Buffalo News this evening.

There was food for the assembled guests, with an entire table devoted to cupcakes and traditional wedding cake. When Lambert cut the cake, she said "let them eat cake and have civil rights."

There was also some entertainment on hand, including musicians, dancers and a standup comedian.

Also on hand was former Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, a longtime supporter of same-sex marriage.

"Voting in support of marriage equality and seeing the bill become law was the most significant act I made in my 19 years in office," Hoyt told The News.

Shortly after 10 p.m., the party moved down to Terrapin Point, where Lambert and Rudd took part in a religious ceremony. That began around 11 p.m.:

Ceremony

It included a Celtic "hand fasting" ceremony:

Hand

Hoyt addressed the religious ceremony, praising Lambert's efforts on behalf of those seeking same-sex marriage rights.

After dancing to Lady Gaga's "The Edge of Glory," the religious ceremony concluded.

The civil ceremony took place at Luna Island, near the Bridal Falls. Dyster presented the couple with this gift:

Gift

Here, Lambert addresses those gathered to witness their ceremony:

Lambert

Check back on BuffaloNews.com for updates, photos and video from the ceremony.

--Joseph Popiolkowski

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