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New York hosts its first gay weddings

The wedding bells rang out ceaselessly across New York yesterday as dozens of gay couples rushed to tie the knot after the state became the sixth to sanction same-sex marriage.

As the clocks chimed midnight, grandmothers and gay-rights activists Kitty Lambert, 54, and Cheryle Rudd, 53, exchanged vows at Niagara Falls, with the cascading water lit up by rainbow-coloured lights.

New York City's marriage register offices worked flat out to marry the 823 couples that had applied, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg was due to officiate at the wedding of two of his City Hall staffers last night.