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Connie Kopelov, who entered New York’s first legal same-sex marriage dies, aged 90

Bea Mitchell and Joseph Patrick McCormick June 1, 2016
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Connie Kopelov, who entered New York City’s first ever legal same-sex marriage, has died aged 90.

Kopelov married her wife, Phyllis Siegel, after 23 years together on 24 July 2011.

Siegel and Kopelov had been together for 23 years prior to being wed on the same day that the NYC state law took effect, allowing same-sex couples to get married.

“I lost my breath,” Siegel said, remembering the day. “It was just the most exciting loss of breath I’ve ever had. I just was so happy.”

Her wife, Siegel, confirmed the news, saying Kopelov had been in the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease, the New York Times reports.

The couple met in the mid-1980s as they were active in groups for LGBT elders.

In 2012, just before their first wedding anniversary, Kopelov and Siegel were honoured as grand marshals of New York City’s Gay Pride Parade, alongside Cyndi Lauper and president of Kiehl’s Chris Salgardo.

They appeared at Pride in 2012 atop a lime green convertible.

Kopelov was born in Indiana in 1926, achieved a master’s degree in political science and moved to New York City in 1955.

She taught women’s labour history courses at Cornell University and New York University.

“She was always fighting for an issue… She was always for the underdog,” said Siegel.

Meanwhile, over in Australia, the head of the country’s largest Christian lobbying group has appeared to compare the equal marriage movement to Nazi Germany.

Lyle Shelton of the Australian Christian Lobby made the shocking claims in a blog hitting out at the debate around same-sex marriage in the country.

This comes after news that Australia will hold a public vote on same-sex marriage before the end of the year, the Prime Minister has promised.

The country’s PM Malcolm Turnbull is currently fighting a federal election battle, and is under threat from the opposition Labor Party.

Related topics: New York City, US

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