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Ossining’s Openly Gay Mayor Hanauer to Wed Sunday

OSSINING, N.Y. – Village of Ossining Mayor William Hanauer, one of a few openly gay politicians in New York, could become the first gay mayor in the state to wed since Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the same-sex marriage bill into law in July.

Hanauer is set to wed his partner of nearly 40 years, Alan Stahl, at noon Sunday at Ossining’s Sparta Park. Friend of the couple, the Rev. Lynda Clements, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Ossining , will officiate. Hanauer is serving his third term as mayor and is running for re-election in November.

“This is a very exciting occasion for us,” Hanauer said Thursday. “Since I am one of the highest elected officials in the state to be married under this new law, I think it’s great for the state of New York.”

Possible New York City mayoral candidate Christine Quinn, the city’s first openly gay council speaker, married in May.

“That was great. But since she’s not mayor yet, I guess I am the first gay mayor to be married under the new law,” Hanauer said. “The state has set the ground to break and we’re breaking it.”

Clements, who said she's known the couple for more than six years, said she was honored to be asked to officiate the wedding.

"Providence brought us together and I think we feel really blessed to be in each other's lives," she said. "Now that I've been asked to do this, I feel honored and grateful."

Clements said she could think of one word that best summed up her feelings on officiating the gay marriage.

"My thoughts on the fact that it's a gay marriage is hooray," she said. "It's a committed, monogamous relationship of two people who have been together for almost 40 years. To be able to tie the knot officially in front of God, family and friends and to have the state of New York regard them as a married couple is long overdue. To me this is a cause for great celebration."

Hanauer met Stahl, curator of Numismatics at Princeton University, in 1974 at JFK International Airport while they were both waiting in line to board a charter flight to Europe. Hanauer, then the director of Cultural Affairs and adjunct lecturer in the Department of Performing and Creative Arts at Staten Island Community College, was waiting to visit friends and relatives and Stahl, who was in graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania, was leaving on an archaeological excavation, according to a press release issued by the couple. Hanauer said the two spent time traveling together that summer and have lived together since. The two moved to Ossining in 1996.

Hanauer said he understands the importance of his marriage, but added he hopes one day it will become “normal.”

“That has been one of the goals of my life is that everything is normal and is treated as normal,” Hanauer said.

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