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APR 14 - APR 21, 2015

Dyster to Raise Gay Pride flag In Ceremony at City Hall

By Mike Hudson

April 14, 2015

Jul 24, 2011 - Cheryle Rudd (L) and Kitty Lambert were married at the stroke of midnight - the first few seconds after the gay marriage law went into effect in New York by Mayor Paul Dyster, who arranged the wedding at the state park at that time in order to lay claim to a piece of history - the first gay couple married in New York State - against the backdrop of Niagara Falls by Niagara Falls Mayor Paul A. Dyster.

The multicolored Rainbow Pride flag, originally called the Gay Pride flag by San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker when he designed it in 1978, will be officially raisedby Mayor Paul Dyster at Niagara Falls City Hall in a special ceremony to be held on Friday, May 29, at 4 p.m.

The flag, which consists of six stripes, with the colors red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet, was meant to reflect the diversity of the lesbian, gay, bisexualand transgender (LGBT) community. The event is being sponsored by the Rainbow City Coalition, a volunteer organization that represents LGBT interests in Niagara Falls.

Known for its Youth Outreach Program and the wild Halloween party it throws every year, the Rainbow City Coalition currently boasts some 84 members, not all of whomare LGBT.

Dyster was the first mayor in New York State to perform gay marriage, uniting Kitty Lambert and Cheryle Rudd on Saturday, July 23, 2011.

The two grandmothers from Buffalo had "been trying to wed for over a decade," and have five children and 12 grandchildren between them.

On July 24 of that year, a mass same sex wedding was performed by Dyster at the falls, following a worldwide promotion orchestrated by John Percy, the gay man who alsoserves as CEO of the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp.

Forty-six same sex couples took the plunge at that event.

Niagara Falls will not have the distinction of being first to fly the Rainbow Pride flag at City Hall, however. That honor goes to Asheville, N.C., which displayed theflag in October of last year. Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer, who did not raise the flag herself, became the subject of considerable criticism for allowing it to beflown.

Councilwoman Kristen Grandinetti, a member of the Rainbow City Coalition who very publicly left the Catholic Church because of its views on gay and women's issues, hasbeen promoting the flag raising on her Facebook page.

"Awesomesauce!!!" she wrote of the planned event.

The Gay Pride flag will be hoisted at City Hall by Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster, who may be in fact the first mayor to personally raise the flag that represents to many the freedom to seek and be what they want.






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