NORTH HEMPSTEAD - Buoyant gay couples cheered by supporters began marrying Sunday on the landmark day that New York became the sixth and largest state to recognize same-sex weddings.

Many same-sex couples across Long Island wasted no time and were married at the stroke of midnight Sunday.

Patrick Simeone, 56, and Francisco Fuertes, 55, of Westbury, were one of the first gay couples to be married in the Town of North Hempstead.

They met at Jones Beach 23 years ago and have been together ever since.

?It's so amazing, I'm speechless,? Simeone says.

New York's adoption of legal same-sex marriage is viewed as a pivotal moment in the national gay rights movement and was expected to galvanize supporters and opponents alike. The state joined Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont, along with Washington, D.C., when it voted last month to legalize gay marriage. AP wire services were used in this report.