Yonkers couple’s fight for marriage equality helped change laws for gay couples across US

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A Yonkers couple's fight for marriage equality helped change the law for gay couples all over the U.S.

Michael Sabatino and Robert Voorheis, of Yonkers, are now a focal point of a highly anticipated marriage equality exhibit at the American History Museum at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.

The couple first met and fell in love in 1978, when same-sex marriage wasn’t an option.  They initially had a commitment ceremony – and 24 years later, they were able to get to Canada to officially tie the knot.

Their wedding bliss didn’t last long.  After they got back home, they unexpectedly made international headlines after getting kicked out of their church.

Then came a yearslong legal rollercoaster to get their marriage officially recognized.

Their first win was in Westchester back in 2006, when county officials agreed to recognize legal out-of-state marrigages just like theirs. It wasn’t until 2011 that New York became the sixth state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage.

Sabatino, now 69, went on to become a councilman and the first openly gay elected official in Westchester’s largest city.

Four years later, the couple shared another history-making moment when the nation’s highest court ruled same-sex couples could wed in all 50 states. The landmark Supreme Court opinion cited Sabatino and Voorheis.

 

 

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