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February 14, 2012
Valentine's Day 2012
NEW YORK (AP) -- Two women who met as college students in Alaska and two men who met at a nightclub in Manhattan became the first same-sex couples Tuesday to be married at the Empire State Building.
Stephanie Figarelle and Lela McArthur were among four couples who won an online contest for a Valentine's Day wedding at the Empire State Building designed by event planner Colin Cowie.
Across the country and around the world, couples embraced, exchanged flowers and married as part to Valentine's Day celebrations.
(25 images)



Lela Mc Arthur, left, and Stephanie Figarelle, of Anchorage, Ak., pose for photos on the observation deck after their Valentine's Day wedding ceremony at the Empire State Building, in New York, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012. The two women, who met at the University of Alaska, have become the first same-sex couple to be married at the Empire State Building. AP / Richard Drew


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African penguin Howard carries a valentine heart written by a visitor to the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, Monday, Feb. 13, 2012. AP / Jeff Chiu



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A pedestrian walks past valentines posted on a storefront Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012 in Montpelier, Vt. The annual decorating with hearts of downtown Montpelier by an unknown party has happened again. Hundreds of paper hearts were posted across the city on Valentine's Day. AP / Toby Talbot



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Sandeep Nagra of Yuba City stands in a pile of cut flowers while making Valentine's Day arrangements Monday, Feb. 13, 2012 at the Yuba City Florist in Yuba City, Calif. Appeal-Democrat / Chris Kaufman



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Robyn Eckersley reacts as she sees her husband-to-be before a group wedding in West Palm Beach, Fla. Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012. Palm Beach County Court Clerk Sharon Bock married between 30 and 40 local couples at the National Croquet Center during a free group wedding ceremony on Valentine's Day. Couples taking part in the special ceremony only pay for their marriage license. No tax dollars were used for the wedding. This is the second year that the Clerk's office has held its group Valentine's Day ceremony at the Croquet Center. AP / J Pat Carter



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Margaret Fratila prepares Valentine's Day bouquets on Monday, Feb. 13, 2012, at her shop, Margaret's Greenhouse & European Floral Designs in Corpus Christi, TX. Fratila, who was born in Romania, arrived 30 years ago today in Corpus Christi. When she celebrates Valentine's Day, she says, she celebrates her new life here. Corpus Christi Caller-Times / Rachel Denny Clow



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Tucker, who won one of the top prizes, marches in the Valentines' Paws on Parade at Main street in Midtown Plaza in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012. The event, one of several events in south Florida, was to urge laws to establish no-kill shelters or to benefit no kill animal shelters. The parade benefited the Safe Harbor animal sanctuary and hospital in Jupiter, Fla. AP / J Pat Carter



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Thai-Swedish couple William Timhede, 23, left and Napatsawan Timhede, 39, are chased by an actor in pirate costume as part of an adventure-themed wedding ceremony in Prachinburi province, Thailand, Monday, Feb. 13, 2012, on the eve of Valentine's Day. AP / Wason Wanichakorn



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Two women sell roses to passers by, on Central Avenue in Harbin, Heilongjiang, China, on Feb. 14, 2012. Many Chinese buy roses to experience a romantic Valentine's Day. ZUMA24.com / Wang Jianwei



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A girl walks past the Valentine's Day decorations made of balloons in Zhengzhou, Henan, China on Feb. 14, 2012. ZUMA24.com / Wang Song



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A woman arranges a bouquet of red roses for celebrations of Valentine's Day at a flower market Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012 in Shanghai, China. AP / STR



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A Chinese couple kiss for 60 seconds to receive a free food in a kissing competition at a cafe Tuesday Feb. 14, 2012 in Shanghai, China. AP / Eugene Hoshiko



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A Filipino vendor makes bouquet of flowers for customers at a flower street known as "Dangwa" on Valentine's Day, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012 in Manila, Philippines. Filipinos, as in most people all over the world celebrate Valentine's Day with flowers, chocolates and fine dining. AP / Bullit Marquez



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Horace Chung, 28, offers a ring with his surprise wedding proposal to girlfriend Janet Tsai, 27, outside of her work on Valentine's Day in Taipei, Taiwan, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012. Tsai agreed shortly after. AP / Wally Santana



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A well-wisher, top left, blesses brides and grooms during a mass wedding held to celebrate St. Valentine's Day in Bangkok, Thailand Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012. AP / Apichart Weerawong



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An Indian man waits for customers as he sells balloons for Valentine's Day at a market in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012. AP / Kevin Frayer



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A woman buys Valentine's Day chocolates at a store in Tokyo Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012. AP / Shizuo Kambayashi



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An Egyptian boy looks at balloons displayed outside a flowers shop to attract customers on Valentine's Day, in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012. AP / Muhammed Muheisen



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Foreign tourists pose before roses arranged in a heart shape at a local floral market on Valentine's Day in Islamabad, Pakistan on Tuesday, Feb 14, 2012 AP / B.K. Bangash



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Supporters of Pakistani religious party Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan burn Valentines placards at rally to condemn Valentines Day celebrations in Karachi, Pakistan on Tuesday, Feb 14, 2012. AP / Shakil Adil



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A Pakistani man prepares balloons for Valentines Day at a street in Islamabad, Pakistan, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012. AP / Anja Niedringhaus



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Jorge Shafik Handal, who is running for mayor of San Salvador for the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), gives a flower to a women for Valentines Day as he campaigns in San Salvador, El Salvador, Tuesday Feb. 14, 2012. El Salvador will hold elections for congressional representatives and mayors on March 11. AP / Luis Romero



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Couples get married in a pool on Valentine's Day in Ventanilla, Peru, Tuesday Feb. 14, 2012. This is the second year the city of Ventanilla organizes a group wedding in a pool on Valentine's Day. AP / Martin Mejia



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Couples share a tender moment during a flash mob to mark Valentine's Day in St.Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012. AP / Dmitry Lovetsky



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A couple buys a balloon with the words 'I love you' celebrating St. Valentine's Day in Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012. AP / Efrem Lukatsky



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