After Islam, a Journey to the Altar

Mersedita Sanchez, 45, left, and Diana Khan, 46, outside Borough Hall in Queens after getting married. They live in Brooklyn.

Diana Khan, 46, never thought she would be trading in her Muslim headscarf for a wife.

Ms. Khan, a Puerto Rican grandmother from Brooklyn, married her longtime girlfriend, Mersedita Sanchez, 45, on Sunday. The moment had particular resonance, Ms. Khan said, as she had converted to Islam more than 20 years ago after marrying a Pakistani man, and had been wearing a hijab and praying several times a day.

No longer. Dressed in a floral summer dress, her body adorned with 21 floral tattoos and multiple piercings, Ms. Khan said her journey to a small chapel in Queens to wed Ms. Sanchez had been a long one. (Never mind having woken up at 4 a.m. to make the pilgrimage to get to the front of the marriage line.)

The two met 18 years ago during a game of dominoes at Ms. Khan’s sister’s house, Ms. Khan recalled. For Ms. Sanchez, it was love at first sight. “I fell in love with her smile,” said Ms. Sanchez, decked out for her nuptials in a black T-shirt with a tuxedo image ironed on. “I was like ‘wow.’”

“I was, like, straight at the time,” Ms. Khan said, smiling widely. “I had been a Muslim. I had had a husband. But I always had an inkling I was gay, so meeting Mersedita was a liberation.”