Gay Couples Can Apply for Marriage Licenses, New Gender-Neutral Forms

Since New York state legislators passed the same-sex marriage bill last month, gay couples have been waiting for the day they could begin applying for a marriage license. Tuesday was that day.

Same-sex couples in New York City can now apply online on the city clerk’s website

Some applicants, eager to fill out the application, were irritated when they found out the form still requires couples to list a bride and groom.  A spokesman for the City Council says the language was updated by Tuesday evening.

The new form allows couples to enter information for "bride," "groom" or the gender-neutral "spouse." Previously, they only allowed for "bride" and "groom."

New York joins Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington, D.C. in legalizing gay marriage. The bill was passed on June 24, almost 42 years to the day that the national movement for gay rights began at the Stonewall Inn. 

Mayor Bloomberg said the city is getting ready for the expected influx of weddings. He predicted the law will bring extra tourism dollars from couples who plan trips just to wed in the city. 

The mayor also said he thinks thousands of same-sex couples will apply to marry.

To make the city more appealing for gay marriages, the city’s tourism arm, NYC & Co., will develop a marketing campaign to “promote the attractiveness of the five boroughs as the gay weddings destination.”

President Obama said the decision to legalize gay marriage was a “good thing” because people debated their views and came to a decision.  He declined to fully endorse same-sex marriage, however.

Although couples can begin applying for the $35 licenses, they likely won't be issued until July 25, one day after the marriage equality law takes effect.

State law requires couples to wait 24 hours to wed, though a waiver can be requested of a judge.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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