Alan Ceppos and Frederic Rambaud added their names to Southampton Town's ledgers on Tuesday morning, as the two became the first gay couple to legally wed in the town's 371-year history.
One day and one month after the State of New York passed legislation granting same-sex couples the right to marry, and two days after the legislation took effect, Ceppos and Rambaud stood in town hall and exchanged their vows.
"This is not going to change our commitment at all, although it's publicly admitted what we have privately felt," Ceppos said before they were wed. "What we hope it will change is the way the world will view our relationship and that somewhere, that 10-year old kid who has to hide his feelings will be able to stand up and say, ‘I have a choice.’"
More than 60 family members and friends made the trek — from just around the corner, to New York City, to Rochester, to India — to support the two.
Rambaud's sister, Christine Franc, traveled from India while away from her home in Senegal. She hadn't been to the United States in 16 years.
"I was surprised when he told me he was getting married. I didn't think it would happen," she said, doubting whether the same-sex marriage law would ever pass. "But it's very, very important to him. I didn't want to miss it."
Ceppos asked his own sister, Marcia, to serve as his witness. She said that while it's "nice after all this time," the fact that the couple have been open for so long didn't make the legislative passage change the way they view their relationship too drastically, a sentiment her brother echoed inside town hall.
"It's not like they've been underground," she said. "So it's never been like they feel their relationship isn't normal.
Ceppos filed for a marriage license as soon as he could. With a requirement that 24 hours must pass between when a license is issued and when the couple is married — unless the couple is already married in another state — the two welcomed family and friends the first chance they got Tuesday.
"It's a question of history," said Rambaud after the ceremony, when asked why they wanted to marry as soon as they could. "I thought I would never get married, because I thought I would never be able to get married. But after 26,000 years, we might not be the first in the world, or in New York, but we're the first in the Hamptons."
While protesters were said to have been at town hall early in the morning, they had cleared by the time the 10:30 a.m. ceremony took place. Rambaud said he was looking forward to speaking with them.
"'Here we are. We are not running away,' is what I would have said. We've had to deal with this for years. And we're not pushing back to the dark ages."