New York City's most senior openly gay official weds

NEW YORK Sat May 19, 2012 7:55pm EDT

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Christine Quinn, New York's highest-ranking openly gay official and the leading candidate to be the city's next mayor, married her longtime girlfriend on Saturday, walking down the aisle to Beyonce's "Ave Maria."

The wedding came less than a year after New York Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a law legalizing same-sex marriage in the state, whose first same-sex nuptials were held July 24.

Quinn, the speaker of the New York City Council and a vocal advocate of same-sex marriage, wore a full-length, cream-colored gown designed by Carolina Herrera and a hair comb fashioned with family heirlooms.

Quinn's wife, New York lawyer Kim Catullo, wore a cream silk evening suit designed by Ralph Lauren. Catullo, who like Quinn is 45, walked in to Bruce Springsteen's "If I Should Fall Behind."

Cuomo, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly were among the 275 guests.

Before the reception, several politicians expressed hopes that same-sex marriage will be legalized across the country.

"It's not a question of if but when - everywhere," U.S. Senator from New York Charles Schumer said.

State Senator Tom Duane, a lead sponsor of New York's same-sex marriage bill, posed for cameras planting a kiss on his boyfriend of two decades.

"We're going to dance up a storm," he said.

New York is among eight states and the District of Columbia that either allow gay marriage or are awaiting enactment of legislation to legalize same-sex nuptials, while a handful of other states have civil unions or domestic partnership laws on their books.

Where same-sex marriage is legal, it has been due to court rulings and legislative action, since popular votes have consistently backed bans. Still, public opinion appears to be shifting.

A Gallup Poll survey this month found that half of Americans believe same-sex couples should have the same right to wed as heterosexuals do, slightly down from a year ago.

Other recent surveys have also found the country is split over whether to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples, with younger and less religious people tending to be more supportive of gay marriage.

(Reporting By Edith Honan; Editing by Cynthia Johnston, Doina Chiacu)

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