Explainer: How to Get Gay Married

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Are you in love? Do you also have $40? Congratulations! You can get married, and it no longer matters whether you and your partner are the same sex. Here's how.

Luckily, getting married in the eyes of the law is much easier than finding a person with whom you want to spend the rest of your life. All you need is two forms of identification, a marriage license, a witness and a public official or an ordained member of the clergy.

Marriage licenses can be obtained at the office of any town or city clerk in the state. Both bride and groom, or bride and bride, or groom and groom must show up in person to obtain the license, no exceptions. This is where the $40 and two forms of I.D. come in. Pay the fee and bring one of these:

  1. Birth Certificate
  2. Baptismal record
  3. Naturalization record
  4. Census record

As well as one of these:

  1. Driver's license
  2. Passport
  3. Employment picture ID
  4. Immigration record

You'll have to wait at least 24 hours to get married after receiving your license. You're going to get sick of this person sooner or later, so really, what's the rush?

That said, marriage licenses are only good for 60 days after they're issued, so don't wait too long.

Now all you have to do is say that you take this woman or man, blah blah blah, and say it in front of someone who matters. Basically, that means a mayor, a judge, a justice or a minister. For a more detailed list of people who can vouch for you, go here. You'll also need a witness; while this witness can be anyone you choose, the state recommends picking someone who'd be competent to testify in court that they saw you get married. Hopefully you know someone this responsible, but maybe not, in which case I'd be happy to provide my services at the low, low price of a six pack.

Here are some of the details in the text of the bill:

  • Same-sex partners, when married under the law, would have equal rights as heterosexual couples. "No government treatment or legal status, effect, right, benefit, privilege, protection or responsibility related to marriage shall differ based on the parties to the marriage being or having been of the same sex rather than a different sex." This includes spousal benefits for state employees who are married under the legislation.
  • Clergy would not be required to perform same-sex ceremonies.
  • Religious institutions would not be required to provide their facilities for services that conflict with their beliefs.
  • Gender-specific language in New York law would be rewritten to be gender-neutral.

The law goes into effect - July 24th, 30 days after being signed by the governor into law.


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Comments [3]

Robert S from Manhattan

Based on my reading of the city's site, you only need a birth certificate if you're underage. A valid passport or drivers license are sufficient

Jul. 07 2011 09:52 AM

I work in an office that does Vital Statistics and we ahve NEVER accepted Baptismal Record or Census record and have ONLY accepted papers like naturalization when Birth Certificates were not available. CALL YOUR MUNICIPALITY FIRST! Also, I advise going to smaller towns because they will probably have less waiting.


Jun. 29 2011 09:49 AM

If you are a NY resident and US citizen, but you were married (same-sex) in Canada, are you now able to get a marriage license and be married in NY? Yes, the Canadian marriage is valid and now acknowledged by NY, but what if you'd also like to have a civil marriage ceremony in NY state? Must you be divorced first?

Jun. 28 2011 07:15 PM

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