City Clerks Will Open Sunday to Issue Marriage Licenses

On Sunday, July 24, the first day same-sex marriage is officially allowed in New York State, county clerk’s offices will be open in all five boroughs to issue marriage licenses.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Council Speaker Christine Quinn joined a chorus of officials from counties and cities across the state who announced their offices would open that Sunday to issue marriage licenses.

After the Marriage Equality Bill passed by three votes in the Senate on June 24, it was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo just before midnight. There was a mandatory 30 day waiting period before couples could legally marry that ends on a Sunday, when city and county clerk’s offices are typically closed.

“This is a historic moment for New York, a moment many couples have waited years and even decades to see—and we are not going to make them wait one day longer than they have to,” said Bloomberg.  “Achieving marriage equality is the next big step in our city’s long march toward full freedom, and on July 24, wedding bells will ring out in all five boroughs.”

Many are celebrating the decision, which came only after deft political maneuvering by Cuomo and key, last minute votes from four Republicans. Still others have protested the new law vigorously.

Despite religious exemptions in the bill, some church leaders have decried their political representatives  who voted in favor of the law. Catholic leaders called on officials to deny communion to Cuomo, and others have said no church should allow politicians who voted for same-sex marriage speaking time in front of their congregations or in their facilities.

St. Helen’s parish priest, Father Rob Keighron, said that his Howard Beach representative, Senator Joe Addabbo, a Democratic swing vote on the issue, had “betrayed the church” in his vote for marriage equality. Fr. Keighron has since called on his parishioners to vote Addabbo out of office in the next election cycle.

On Tuesday, Barker Town Clerk Laura Fotusky likely became the first state official to resign over her religious objection to signing marriage licenses for same-sex marriage. Barbara MacEwen, town clerk of Volney, in Oswego County said she won’t sign licenses either, but said she hopes her deputy can perform the action in her place.

More clerks could resign, and protests are expected on July 24.

All five city clerk’s offices will be open on July 24 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Applicants must be through the office’s doors by 3:45 p.m. to be guaranteed service.  The following week, all five city clerk’s office locations will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

“We are going to be part of history,” said City Clerk Michael McSweeney. “Our staff will be ready for a large numbers of people on the first day.”

The Queens County clerk’s office is located at Borough Hall, 120-55 Queens Boulevard in Kew Gardens, on the ground floor.

by David J. Harvey


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>