Gay marriage in Southold Town, one year later

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Cutchogue residents Alan Santos, right, and Michael Buckley were the first gay couple to apply for a marriage license in Southold Town.

Some same-sex couples in Southold Town are celebrating their first wedding anniversaries this week, as today marks a year since the marriage equality bill went into effect in New York.

One of those couples is Alan Santos, 60, and Michael Buckley, 50, of Cutchogue. They were the first same-sex couple to apply for a marriage license at Southold Town Hall July 25.

“We’re thrilled and delighted,” Dr. Santos said during an interview at his home this week. “It provides us with a level of security that we didn’t have before … If I got sick or he got sick, I know now that our rights are protected.”

Dr. Santos is chairman of the anesthesiology department at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital in Manhattan and Mr. Buckley is a teacher. Fourteen years ago, they adopted their son, Randel Buckely-Santos, 24, who is currently planning his own wedding with his fiance, Shannon Maechling, 22.

Prior to the same-sex marriage law passing, Dr. Santos and Mr. Buckley didn’t think about marriage. But after the state passed the landmark legislation, the couple felt an urgency to get married in order to show their support to the people that made gay marriage possible. In addition, they decided to get married quickly because they feared the decision would be overturned.

After applying for a marriage license, the couple had a simple wedding ceremony at City Hall in Manhattan and went to a deli for lunch afterward. They decided not to have an elaborate wedding because they had a big celebration for their 20th anniversary in 2009.

To celebrate their one-year wedding anniversary, the couple plans go on safari in Kenya where Dr. Santos is also giving a lecture about anesthesiology.

“For us, it was never really that important [to get married] because our families and friends accepted us,” Mr. Buckley said. “We felt it was important because many people worked so hard that we felt we should follow through and do it in order to show our support.”

Dr. Santos and Mr. Buckley are one of the 28 same-sex couples who have applied for a marriage license in Southold Town over the past year.

Pick up Thursday’s paper to read more about the first year of same-sex marriage on the North Fork.

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