It was a fight marked by a long string of defeats that ended, almost as if written in a script, with an almost miraculous night of legislative triumph.
On June 24, 2011, in New York—the first of which took place in Brooklyn and across the rest of the Empire State .
On that night in June, from Albany to the West Village to that came the noise of jubilation at least 42 years in the making.
"I finally feel like we're in the future and not in the Stone Ages anymore," said Fernando Cambeiro, a bartender at Sweet Revenge on Franklin Avenue.
That came in stark contrast to the mostly quiet dignity of a month later on July 24, 2011, with dozens of couples—some of whom had been together for decades—formally recognizing their love and devotion to each other.
"We’ve been waiting for so long and we're not going to wait any longer," said Bobby Amagna of his partner of 18 years, Mike Surey. "We’re going to live forever together."
The happy ending to the gay marriage debate in New York, up to the very day of the state Senate vote, was far from a sure thing.
In June 2011, Patch ran asking Brooklyn's state Senate delegation where they stood, with at least two lawmakers in one of the state's most left-leaning counties against or undecided about marriage equality.
The uncertainty didn't stop some from preparing for what many advocates of same-sex unions thought was inevitable.
It was a list of people that included—perhaps strangely, considering the pro-marriage nature of the debate—.
But it was , tearing up at Borough Hall as she watched others perform a ceremony she and her recently departed partner would never experience, who summed up what was at stake in the gay marriage debate.
"She would have been overjoyed that it was happening and that it was happening here in Borough Hall," Nicolosi said of her partner, Mary Ellen, who died of Hodgkin's lymphoma eight years prior. "It's bittersweet."