New York City clerk's office next month will begin conducting ceremonies for gay couples who register as domestic partners.
The city has been registering domestic partners for 17 years.
But, beginning June 3 the clerk's office in all five boroughs will also begin offering marriage-like ceremonies, the Daily News reported.
"We thought it was a good idea," City Clerk Michael McSweeney said of the move.
Up until now, the nearly 50,000 domestic partners who signed up received nothing more than a piece of paper.
Same sex marriage advocates are hailing the ceremonies as a move in the right direction, but believe it still falls short.
"Sounds like a small step in the right direction," said Joseph Hagelmann, president of the Stonewall Democratic Club in Manhattan told the News. "But we're not going to be happy until we have full marriage equality."
A gay marriage bill was defeated by the New York State Senate last year.