Here's how New York City celebrated the biggest-ever victory for gay rights

Nyc prideEduardo MunozA couple carry an American flag and a rainbow flag during the annual Gay Pride parade in New York

Americans marked Gay Pride Day this year with an extra measure of gusto, turning out en masse at Sunday’s festivities in New York and other cities to celebrate the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling legalizing same-sex marriage across the country.

Two days after the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the U.S. Constitution provides same-sex couples the right to marry, Governor Andrew Cuomo kicked off the New York City celebration by officiating at the marriage of two men outside of the Stonewall Inn, a Greenwich Village gay bar that is considered the birthplace of the U.S. gay rights movement.

“I want you to know I’m a little nervous today – it’s my first marriage,” he joked before marrying a couple in front of a crowd of several dozen onlookers.

Earlier this month, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission granted official landmark status to the Stonewall, site of a June 1969 riot that galvanised the then-incipient gay rights movement.

After Sunday’s ceremony, one of the men called Cuomo an “LGBT hero” and said the experience was “a dream come true.”

Ian mckellan prideEduardo MunozActors Ian McKellen (centre L) and and Derek Jacobi (centre R) wave to the crowd as they attend as grand marshals during the annual Gay Pride parade
Gay bush Eduardo MunozA woman attends the annual Gay Pride parade in New York

Tens of thousands of people were expected to attend gay-pride parades in Chicago, San Francisco and Minneapolis, culminating a weekend of festivities in those cities.

The court ruled on Friday that the Constitution’s guarantees of due process and equal protection under the law mean that states cannot ban marriages between two men or two women. With the landmark ruling, marriage becomes legal for all people in all 50 states.

Cuomo said New York’s early progressive stance on gay rights made gay marriage a reality.

“New York was the laboratory. And you know what? The sky didn’t fall,” he said.

Cuomo prideEduardo MunozNew York Governor Andrew Cuomo (C) marches down 5th Ave during the annual Gay Pride parade
Gay pride nycEduardo MunozPeople march down 5 Av during the annual Gay Pride parade in New York June 28, 2015

A short time later, thousands of people lining Fifth Avenue reveling in a sea of rainbow flags cheered and shouted as dozens of colourful floats and costumed marchers in the New York City Gay Pride Parade passed by in a jubilant procession.

“It’s awesome, there’s more people, it’s more animated this year, people are more excited this year,” said Aaron Seide, a 24-year-old retail worker from Westchester County whose cheeks were covered with rainbow-coloured sprinkles.

Gay pride nycEduardo MunozA man in high heels takes part during the annual Gay Pride parade

On a street corner, four men and women carried banners with messages in opposition to gay rights.

“Are you on the highway to Heaven or hell?” read one. “Know the God of your Bible,” read another.

Gay stormtrooperEduardo MunozA person dressed as Stormtrooper from Star Wars (C) waits the start of the annual Gay Pride
Gay pride nycEduardo MunozSpectators kiss while they cheer marchers during the annual Gay Pride parade
Nyc gay prideEduardo MunozPeople march down 5 Av during the annual Gay Pride parade in New York
Gay pride nycEduardo MunozA woman carries an American flag and a rainbow flag while she passes the Empire State Building during the annual Gay Pride parade in New York

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This article originally appeared at Reuters. Copyright 2015. Follow Reuters on Twitter.

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