Group Wedding at Niagara Falls for Same Sex Couples

July 25, 2011 Updated Jul 25, 2011 at 1:56 PM EDT

By Jaclyn Asztalos

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July 25, 2011 Updated Jul 25, 2011 at 1:56 PM EDT

Niagara Falls, N.Y. (WKBW)- Forty-eight same sex couples tied the knot, Monday with Niagara Falls as the backdrop.

"It's been a dream of ours for 29 years, that's how long we've been together," Mark Lynch said.

This comes just one day after the Marriage Equality Act went into effect.

"We never thought this day would come. It's a very proud moment and we're happy," Rebecca Timm said.

On Sunday at the stroke of midnight, the first ceremony took place between gay rights activists and long-time couple Kitty Lambert and Cheryle Rudd.

Protesters from churches across Western New York were expected at the ceremony but only about a dozen showed up.

"To have the state legislate law to constitute the traditional definition of marriage between two women and two men is just out of order," Protester Timothy Brown said.

Niagara Falls officials said same sex marriage is not only good for the equality of New Yorkers but it also helps the economy.

"The state officials are estimating $400 million over three years and I think if Niagara Falls even gets 10 percent of that it will just add to the marriage and honeymoon market we already have," CEO Niagara Tourism John Percy said.

After the ceremony, couples gathered at the Top of the Falls Restaurant for a champagne toast and the cutting of the cake.