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New York

New York's first openly gay Congressman marries longtime partner

New York City News
24 Jun 2014, 07:51 GMT+10

COLD SPRING, New York - Representative Sean Patrick Maloney has tied the knot with his longtime friend, designer Randy Florke, becoming the second American congressman to marry a same-sex partner.

Democrat Maloney was the first openly gay Congressman in New York. The couple exchanged the vows Saturday night at the Church of St. Mary-in-the-Highlands in Cold Spring, New York.

"Even after 22 years together, we're overwhelmed by how blessed we feel to celebrate this special day with our friends and family," the couple said in a statement.

Republican Mark Pocan, D-Wisconsin, had earlier married his husband in Canada in 2006, six years before he was elected to Congress.

Maloney, 47, a Democrat represents the lower Hudson Valley. His partner, Florke, 51, is a real estate and design executive in New York City for The Rural Connection, Inc., the company he founded in 1996.

Maloney became the second member of Congress to legally wed his same-sex partner while in office. Former Barney Frank, D-Massachusetts, became the first to do so in 2012.

The couple has been together for 22 years. They live with their children Reinel, 24, Daley, 13, and Essie, 11, in Cold Spring.

Florke proposed to Maloney on Christmas Day after the youngest of their three children wrote to Santa wishing for her parents to be married.

"Santa can you try making my wonderful fathers get married. They are a loving couple," Essie wrote in a handwritten letter on her dad's congressional letterhead. She also asked for some Legos.

The couple thanked all for their support and vowed to continue their fight for all families to be happy.

"With our three kids by our side, this couldn't have been a more perfect day. Thank you to all our friends near and far for their love and support as we continue to fight to ensure all families can experience the joys of a lifetime commitment," they said in the statement.

Maloney served as a senior adviser to President Bill Clinton. He is the first openly gay congressman from the Empire State.

US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Governor Andrew Cuomo sent congratulations via Twitter.

"Congratulations @RepSeanMaloney on your wedding today in beautiful ColdSpring, NY! Wishing you and Randy a lifetime of happiness,"

Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) wrote on the micro-blogging site.

"My best wishes to @RepSeanMaloney and @RandyFlorke on your wedding today in Cold Spring, NY. Congratulations," Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) wrote.

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