Stephen Reader covers politics for It's a Free Country, WNYC's interactive politics site. He joined the station in 2010 and has also worked for Studio 360, WNYC's Peabody Award-winning show about art, culture, and creativity.
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:
- Birth Certificate
- Baptismal record
- Naturalization record
- Census record
As well as one of these:
- Driver's license
- Employment picture ID
- 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.