Same-sex couple ties the knot after 52 years
AMENIA — Guy Castle and Lester Saroff have been a couple for nearly 52 years, but it wasn’t until Tuesday, July 26, two days after New York’s Marriage Equality Act went into effect, that they finally tied the knot.Their marriage is officially the first same-sex union to take place in Amenia under the new law.Castle said friends had urged them to get married in nearby Massachusetts or Connecticut, both of which passed similar laws before New York, but they wanted to get married in their home state.He explained that their families and friends had already accepted them as a couple, so they didn’t feel the push to get married elsewhere.But when the law passed in New York, they decided it was finally time.Since the Amenia Town Hall and other local governments were closed on Sunday, July 24, the day the law went into effect, Castle and Saroff went to Town Hall early Monday morning to receive their marriage application.They then waited the mandatory 24 hours before getting married on Tuesday morning.“The clerk did an exceptional job,” said Saroff, referring to Amenia Town Clerk Maureen Bonds, who married the couple in a small ceremony in Town Hall.“It was a wonderful experience and it makes a big difference,” said Castle. “Not in the relationship, but because we are a legal couple in several states.”Saroff said that when he told his sister of the marriage, she responded that she thought he had been married for years.“[The law] recognizes the fact that love is love,” said Castle, “and if people are in love, they should be recognized as a couple. It recognizes that love does exist on many levels.”Saroff and Castle said they were not surprised when the law passed in New York. Both of them had been very active in making phone calls and sending letters to their representatives to voice their opinion and ask that the law be put on the books.“This is a privacy matter,” said Saroff. “What you do and how you live your life is up to the individual.”Saroff and Castle said they don’t believe a national marriage equality law will be passed in their lifetime — Saroff said he would have preferred to make a statement by waiting for a national policy before getting married, had he been younger — but even though they have not gained acceptance on the national level, they have found the local area to be very friendly and accepting.“There are many gay couples who’ve been accepted into the community and are well liked,” said Castle, who also described how several people hugged them and cried tears of joy upon hearing of the marriage.When asked what the best part of being married is, Castle replied, “It’s just the recognition.”Saroff elaborated: “That we’re one. And that our lives are as normal as anyone else’s.”“Yes,” agreed Castle, smiling.