Woman In NYC’s First Gay Marriage Dies At Age 90

The New York Times reports:

Connie Kopelov [seated], whose wedding to Phyllis Siegel in 2011 was the first legal same-sex marriage in New York City, died in Manhattan on Saturday. She was 90.

Her death was confirmed by Ms. Siegel, who said Ms. Kopelov had been in the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

Ms. Kopelov and Ms. Siegel had been partners for 23 years when they were married by the city clerk on July 24, 2011 — the same day that a state law took effect allowing same-sex couples to marry.

That morning, Ms. Kopelov, then 85, and Ms. Siegel, 76, were the first couple through the door of the marriage bureau, on Worth Street in Lower Manhattan.

The City Council speaker at the time, Christine C. Quinn, a lesbian and prominent gay rights activist, stood in attendance around 9 a.m. as the clerk, Michael McSweeney, said, “I now pronounce you married.”

  • karen in kalifornia

    Condolences to Ms. Siegle and family.

    • BudClark

      My husband and I were together for 33 years … He died June 1, 2012. Burgie, I still love you and miss you, and always will. Love, Bud.

      • BudClark

        I keep thinking how many thousands (millions?) of us who mark anniversaries like THAT?)

      • Ginger Snap

        Always a sad thing to hear of a loved one gone but remember his stardust is doing just fine traveling the universe. Much love and kisses BudClark.

      • GayOldLady

        Oh Bud, my heart breaks for your loss, but I know he’s with you always. Peace!

      • GanymedeRenard

        Hugs and kisses to you, Bud!

      • Christopher

  • Cuberly

    RIP Ms. Kopelove.

    My condolences to your wife, Ms. Siegel.

    I repeat: Your wife.

    • Tinajsmyth2

      “my room mate Mary Is getting paid on the internet $98/hr”…..!gd140ur

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      • Cuberly

        You’re despicable posting this here. Fuck you!

  • vorpal

    I’m so glad that her and her wife lived to see marriage equality and were able to be married, celebrating both their love and the fact that love won.

  • another_steve

    May she rest in peace.

    (an aside…are we really still referring to it as “gay marriage” these days?)

    • peacfulseas inWA

      We had gay marriage here for a short time. It was called domestic partnership or everything but marriage. Because language matters I had refused to use the term ” gay marriage ” and always preferred marriage equality.

      • another_steve

        Thank you.

        Me, I’m not “gay-married.” I’m “married.” (And to the most wonderful man in the world, btw.)

        • peacfulseas inWA

          Congratulations to the both of you.

        • GayOldLady

          We’re married too. We’ve been together 32 years and will celebrate our 1st official anniversary on July 15th.

          • TuuxKabin

            Wonderful! XO to both of you, from 2guysnamedjoe & me.

          • another_steve

            Congrats to you, GOL. The first marriage anniversary is special.

            Enjoy. 😉

      • TuuxKabin

        In 2001 on our 20th anniversary we went to NYC city hall for our ‘domestic partnership’ ceremony. A friend/witness, after the ceremony, said ‘domestic partnership sounds like we’re a house cleaning service’. We drank to it.

        • another_steve

          Congratulations on your long relationship, TK. 3+ decades is a long long time.

          The man and I celebrated 42 years together this past March.

          • TuuxKabin

            Thank you Steve. That same friend dubbed us ‘JuneGrooms’ which is used to this day by that group of friends in attendance.

            I knew you two have been together a long time, didn’t know it was that long. Congratulations. We married in 2008 in CT before NYS legalized marriages.

          • another_steve

            Something perhaps other older same-sex married couples reading here can relate to:

            After we got married here in Maryland in 2013, some of our straight friends who for decades had been celebrating my man’s and my having met in March 1974 — via sending us anniversary cards and inviting us to dinner and the like — confided to us that they were confused and didn’t know how to proceed. Were they “supposed to” continue honoring our 1974 date or were they now to honor our “legal” marriage date?

            Lol. My husband and I told them that our hearts had melded into one heart back in ’74, and that that was the anniversary to celebrate.

            For us as well. Our personal celebration (big dinner out and such) still occurs on the anniversary of our 1974 meeting one another.

            On the anniversary of our legal marriage, we open a bottle of bubbly at home and watch a good movie on the tele. 😉

          • TuuxKabin

            We ‘honor’ our meeting from 1981, celebrate our JuneGrooms housekeeping together and since our wedding day anniversary is December 30 incorporate it into the New Year. One day we may lose track.

          • Ray Taylor

            Henry & I celebrate New Years day; the day we met in 1981.

          • TuuxKabin

            We’re with you. Met January 1981. Thirty-five years ago. I turned 70 this year and told Bob (el husbian) I”ve spent the better half of my life with you. Congratulations to you and Henry on your 35th!

          • TheManicMechanic

            We have two anniversaries, when we got married in June of 2014, and when we met in October of 2000. Any excuse for nice dinners, celebrations and all of that good stuff.

          • TuuxKabin

            All that good stuff, indeed. We extend some celebrations into a season and carry on accordingly. Usually our birthdays.

          • Ray Taylor

            Our b’days are in Dec, so it’s party until New Years. At least it was before ageing.

          • TuuxKabin

            We ‘party in place’, at home, home cooked meal, selected music, good wine and dessert. Usually save mingling with friends for non-celebratory events, unless it’s theirs. You still as madly in love with Henry as I am with Bob?

          • Ray Taylor

            We had a good laugh over that.

          • TuuxKabin

            Some times I laugh so hard the tears run down my leg.

          • another_steve

            Double the fun. 😉

            After our marriage ceremony at the county court house, our friends took us out to a nice French restaurant for lunch. We’ve gotten in the habit, just the two of us, of going back there, once a year around the date, for lunch and to remember that special day.

          • TheManicMechanic

            Our first is our own little private time to celebrate, friends know our more public wedding date, and have joined us in celebrating at times.

        • GayOldLady

          Congrats to you Tuux. We’ve come a long way baby!!!

          • TuuxKabin

            Ah, thank you GOL! It’s true, a long way. Thank you.

  • AtticusP

    Love conquers all.

    And that is why, ultimately, we will win.

    • Traxley Launderette


  • madknits

    Requiescat in Pace.
    May her memory be for a blessing.
    I’m just glad she was able to marry her beloved.
    That is victory.

  • bryan

    Living until 90, finding true love, and having that love legally recognized… what a full and happy life. So glad Connie lived it.

  • FAEN

    I’m glad that they were able to legally marry even if it was for a short time. Rest now and my deepest condolences.

  • djcoastermark

    Thank the stars they had the chance to marry, the chance to have found each other, live , love,and grow old together.

  • BlueberriesForMe

    Another great picture:

    • JT

      Lovely photo.

    • GayOldLady

      And it goes to show that even age isn’t a barrier to love and wanting that love to be recognized. I’m happy these ladies had a few years of official marriage!!

  • MB

    Condolences with much love and admiration sent to all of her family, friends and loved ones. Their story of love and devotion is another classic we should remember and treasure.
    Rest now in peace Connie, and may flights of angels sing thee sweetly to thy rest.



  • teeveedub

    Rest In Peace, pioneer.

  • TuuxKabin

    Condolences to her survivor, family and friends. We’ll observe a toast to both at dinner. I hope their love is a comfort to Ms. Siegel.

  • tst

    Pro-Palestine trans women are celebrating in NYT twitter.

    • Todd20036

      oh shut up

    • Bill_Perdue


  • Lumpy Gaga


    Colbert’s tribute at the time:


    (Probably only works in USA. Sorry)

  • TheSeer

    Rest in peace Connie. Condolences to your wife.

  • JB

    Imagine all the love . How beautiful.

  • oikos

    So sad. Just think if it hadn’t been for shitbags like Brian Brown, they would have had 2 more years being married.

    • billbear1961

      People like Brown will never pay for their evil, oikos, but they’re so persecuted, you know.

  • TampaZeke

    I’m so glad that she lived long enough to die with the dignity of equal recognition under the law.

    Many thanks to Ms. Kopelov for her contribution to our collective history and much love and compassion to her wife Phyllis.

    • Cackalaquiano

      She and others of her generation have really paved the way for my life as a gay married man to be much, much better. I owe them so much gratitude.

  • Duane Dimitrov

    Remember all the moralizing shitfucks in Albany who tried to deny these two their legal rights?

    Yeah…they kinda look, today, like a bunch of moralizing shitfucks possessing not an ounce of compassion or interest in the dignity of their fellow homo sapiens.

    Yeah…let’s not forget what regressive, moralizing shitfucks these politicians were approx. .05 seconds ago.

    K? Thanx.

    • Tigernan Quinn

      I think you’re doing the anger thing just fine, no need for more attendees.

      • Duane Dimitrov

        Really? I think we should all be angry.

        • billbear1961

          Never mind him–one of the principal reasons he comes here is to piss on posters he’s EAGER to find fault with, instead of saving it for the fucks on the right who’ve got it coming.

          • TuuxKabin

            Ever a killjoy that one. Poor thing’s gotta be a miserable mess.

      • billbear1961

        Just get off people’s backs for TEN seconds, would you?


      • TuuxKabin

        May the next gift you receive, if ever, be a haunted music box that plays forever.

  • Tigernan Quinn

    So sad.

  • Rest, Peace, and Light to you Sister. May your wife find solace and strength, that you were – at long last – able to spend your final years together, under law and love.


    I most devoutly hope that they had beautiful years together.

  • billbear1961
    • houstonray

      We love you billbear

      • billbear1961


    • GayOldLady

      Yes we do love you billbear. You bring us great comfort! Thank you.

      • billbear1961


  • JustSayin’


    WHY doesnt the article say wife?

    • Spudger

      I don’t think it’s an intentional dodge – I don’t see any “alternative” terms or other maneuvers to avoid saying it. The use of “partner” to describe the period prior to their legal marriage is a correct way of disambiguating legal status of their pairing pre and post marriage equality – which would be more important than usual in an article eulogizing a marriage equality pioneer.

      Also, “wife” is used in the photograph caption.

  • bkmn

    A beautiful couple. I am glad they got to marry and have their relationship recognized by the state and the federal government.

  • witch

    R.I. P. Love has won and the World is richer for it

  • fuzzybits

    RIP Ms. Kopelove. I’m glad you two found each other on this sometimes hard road.

  • TheManicMechanic

    Rest in peace, dear heart.

  • Homo Erectus

    I’m so happy you were able to be.

  • dcurlee

    If they have an organization to contribute to I would love to…RIP you sweet lady

    • BudClark

      So much love … so little time! Bless you!

      • 2guysnamedjoe

        So much love … so little time!
        Words to live by.

  • Homo Erectus

    This reminds me of that wonderful movie “Cloudburst”. Must watch again.

  • Bill_Perdue

    RIP sister.

  • Ginger Snap

    I’ll say it again. When we won marriage equality we won our right to love even in death. It’s so very sad when someone dies especially a love of your life. Connie may your stardust have the most incredible journey of the universe. Phyllis my deepest sympathies go out to you and your family.

  • houstonray

    Just tears….tears of happiness for them that they were joined in marriage. Makes the vows, “till death do us part” mean so much more….

  • SoCalGal20

    Rest in peace, Ms. Kopelove. Thank you for being a pioneer.

  • GanymedeRenard

    Ladies, it’s beautiful people like you who constantly remind people like me that love is a powerful force, and that, if we’re lucky enough, we might even get to spend the rest our existences in the company of our soulmates, just like you did.

    My sincerest condolences to you, Ms. Siegel, for such a heartbreaking loss. Light returns to light, and your devoted wife, Ms. Kopelov, shone long enough amongst us to see the day when your mutual love was duly honored by both the State and the nation. May she keep shining in the depths of this universe until your own light fuses with hers.

  • It sometimes seems like progress is agonizingly slow and that the human race is constantly going backwards but in the end, what is right prevails.

  • Ninja0980

    RIP Ms. Kopelove and my condolences to your wife Ms. Siegel.

  • 2karmanot

    One of the great advances in true civil rights has been full marriage equality. Still, as ,many of us have learned there remains discrimination in the details of the old laws. T and I married after being together for over 25 years, but because it was officially less than 9 months Social Security denied me spousal benefits.

  • Tinajsmyth2

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  • JCF

    Memory eternal, RIP.