To celebrate my Modern Love column being published in The New York Times, Melinda and I went downtown to the Manhattan County Clerk’s Office to cheer for the Just Marrieds. Sunday, July 24, 2011 was the first day same-sex couples could legally marry the ones they loved in New York and around 900 couples said, “I do.”

Melinda and I shouted well wishes to the engaged fiancés and fiancées, as they inched their way behind police barricades lining the sidewalk as if it were a pride parade to the main Worth Street entrance. But the back door was where the party was at! Where we received them for the first time as officially, married couples.

Whenever the rotating glass doors began to move, the crowd around us started to cheer. We clapped and whooped when the blushing brides and grooms shuffled out. They held hands and waved their marriage licenses at us. We blew bubbles for them. We tossed rice, rainbow confetti, and rose petals. We rang bells, honked, and chanted, “Kiss, kiss, kiss!” like rowdy wedding guests seated in the back of the reception hall. And happy to oblige, they locked lips for their witnesses.

I felt honored to witness their unions. Proud. Privileged. Lucky to be in love now and live in New York. Some had clearly waited a lifetime to marry their beloveds, while others a mere heartbeat. Most were still waiting.

As newlyweds filed out one after the other with their wedding parties comprised of parents, friends, sons wearing “My Daddies Rock!” t-shirts, daughters carrying flowers, and family pets, I was moved by the clear evidence of lives already being shared. How for many Sunday’s marriage was not the beginning of a long life together; it was the celebration of one already lived and the continuation of it.

Congratulations Just Marrieds! Wishing you many more years of wedded matrimony.

Who’s next to catch the bouquet? Minnesota? Texas? Oregon?