NYC, North Hempstead Clerks’ Offices To Remain Open Sunday When Same-Sex Marriage Law Takes Effect

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Clerks’ offices in New York City and at least two upstate cities are taking the unusual step of opening on a Sunday for gay couples eager to tie the knot as soon as the state’s new gay marriage law takes effect July 24, but many other cities and towns are waiting for state government guidance first.

New York became the sixth and largest state to legalize gay marriage. Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the legislation before midnight, setting a 30-day clock that makes the law become official on a day when government offices normally are closed.

New York City officials announced Wednesday they would open their clerks’ offices in all five boroughs for a full day July 24, saying gay couples should not be made to wait one day longer to wed.

“This is a historic moment for New York, a moment many couples have waited years and even decades to see,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, “and we are not going to make them wait one day longer than they have to.”

Volunteer judges will be available to perform ceremonies and review requests to waive the state’s mandatory 24-hour waiting period between when a couple gets a marriage license and when they can get married. During the next week, the offices will also stay open until 6:30 p.m., two hours later than usual.

It was not clear Wednesday exactly how many of the state’s smaller cities and towns would follow New York City’s lead and open clerks’ offices that Sunday, although officials in the upstate cities of Binghamton and Syracuse have indicated they will do so.

In the town of North Hempstead on Long Island, town clerk Leslie Gross says she has been deeply touched by the gay couples she recently met, some who have been together for over fifty years.

WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall On Long Island

Gross said the couples have waited long enough. That is why she decided to open up her office on July 24.

“I reached out to the union to make sure it’s okay with them. I really tried, before we decided to do this, to make sure, because it is a Sunday and I’m very sensitive to that,” said Gross.

LINK: Town Of North Hempstead – Marriage License ID Requirements

Syracuse City Clerk John Copanas told the Syracuse Post-Standard that his office decided to open July 24 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. because it received so many calls from couples inquiring when they could get the $40 licenses. He said the city also wants to avoid being inundated with people the following Monday.

Officials in other cities said they would consider opening that Sunday, but wanted to get information from the state first.

“We’re kind of reserving judgment until we hear from New York state,” said Ithaca City Clerk Julie Conley Holcomb.

The hundreds of local clerks around the state who administer marriage licenses are awaiting new forms and guidance from state health officials on how to proceed with the new law. Cuomo spokesman Josh Vlasto said forms and guidance will start coming in the next few days.

“The administration will be reaching out to municipalities and jurisdictions across the state to assist with handling these procedures in the days and weeks ahead,” Vlasto said.

Given the 24-hour waiting period and the possibility that not all clerks’ offices will be open July 24, David Kilmnick of the Long Island Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Services Network said his group is hosting a free mass wedding for same-sex couples at Bethpage State Park on Tuesday, July 26. As of Wednesday, 57 couples had registered, including Abi and Mari Cielo of Hicksville.

“It’s just one more way to try to legalize, or legitimize, our relationship for the world, to recognize it. We’re here, were staying, we’re real,” Abi Cielo said.

She called their marriage a “formality” given their commitment ceremony 11 years ago and their marriage in Massachusetts shortly after same-sex unions were legalized there in 2004. But the decision to marry on July 26 was easy: It’s their anniversary.

In Binghamton, City Council Member Sean Massey said he did not necessarily expect waivers of the waiting period to be issued, meaning couples who came in for licenses Sunday could get married Monday.

Massey said the decision to open the city’s office for four hours midday that Sunday was in part pragmatic, since it would avoid city workers having to juggle other duties with a possible crush of couples on Monday. He noted that Binghamton is just over the border from Pennsylvania, which does not recognize gay marriage.

But he said there was a symbolic reason too.

“We figured it’s important and people want to be a part of this, on this first day,” Massey said.

What’s your reaction to same-sex marriage being legal in New York? How about opening the offices on Sunday? Sound off in our comments section below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

More from Sophia Hall
  • lydia

    EVERYONE IS RUSHING FOR THAT JULY 24 DATE BECAUSE THE CITY IS GIVING AWAY A FREE TUBE OF LUBE WITH EVERY MARRIAGEI am a 28 years old doctor, mature and beautiful.and now I am seeking a good man who can give me real love , so i got a username Andromeda2002 on–s’e’ek’c’ou’ga’r.c óm–.it is the first and best club for y’ounger women and old’er men, or older women and y’ounger men,to int’eract with each other. Maybe you wanna ch’eck ‘it out or tell your friends!



  • lydia

    We pump it into mainstream America to destroy all of your cherished traditions rooted in Christianity. In the end, there will be no opposition to our Talmudic conquest of America, only defenseless, disease riddled hipsters, gays, and drug addicts
    I am a 28 years old doctor, mature and beautiful.and now I am seeking a good man who can give me real love , so i got a username Andromeda2002 on–s’e’ek’c’ou’ga’r.c óm–.it is the first and best club for y’ounger women and old’er men, or older women and y’ounger men,to int’eract with each other. Maybe you wanna ch’eck ‘it out or tell your friends!

  • Pepper

    This is wonderful for same sex couples and the tourism industry. Everyone will benefit from the influx of tourism. And I think the city needs to really let everyone know about the virtual NYC Map because it is a gem. I live in NYC and have been using City Maps… it’s an incredible tool!

    • Stephen Holland

      Hey can we show the kids how gay boys and girls have sex? OMG whats next lol

  • p8nt

    Such a closed-minded ignorant world you live in. By the way, an Atheist Jew is an oxymoron.

    • nathan

      I think you missed my point, genius. The point is Atheism is just a Semitic ruse to get the people to believe that religion has no place in our society, that is all religion except Judaism. When was the last time you heard an Atheist cry about the Jewish symbolism in our society. Never. And, let me be real simple for you in telling you why that is again:
      Atheism= clandestine (secret) Jewish proliferation and extermination of all other religions.

      Oy vey!

  • Robert Senn

    why are gay getting things that normal people arent is this the way new york says it has equel rightsif the gays want equality every one should be treated the same

  • George

    So you just want me to bend over and do to me what you do to your gay lover is that it?

  • hahahahahahahaha

    Nice of Bloomberg to pay City workers overtime for Sunday–it will help ease the burden when they’re laid off because he claims he lacks the money. I also like the volunteer judges bit–they haven’t had a raise in twelve years and they STILL volunteer.

  • nonjewishcourt

    In the Bronx Supreme Court, several judge’s podiums are emblazoned with “In God We Trust.” Swearing in of jurors ends with “so help me God.”

    • nathan

      Us Atheist Jews have already complained about all insertions of the word God anywhere. What I am trying to say is have you ever heard us complain about a public Menorah, e.g., the huge one in front of Brooklyn Supreme Court, or the Star of David on public property like in Manhattan Supreme Court?

      Atheism is just a Jewish policy of exterminating all opposing religious views to those of the chosen, ruling class.

  • All about the $$

    Actually a study by Inspector Generals Office indicates that license fees will not only cover the service but will contribute to a surplus in the City Clerks Office. This in addition to the estimated MILLIONS flowing into NYC/State tourism and sales tax revenue. At the end of the day this is about creating jobs and $$$!

    • woah

      Mike Long is selling Reuben Diaz cowboy hats out of Conservative Party headquarters–I hope that he’s keeping sales tax records.

    • Bob Fowler

      The exact same financial ‘rewards’ would be realized during normal business hours. FAIL!!!

  • Big Nard

    Why don’t we open our homes to these same gender lovers. Why all of a sudden being gay is normal behavior???????

    • Michael H.

      For these people it IS normal behavior. They didn’t choose to be gay just as you didn’t choose to be straight.

      • Michael H.


      • john smith

        So fudge packer, go back to that closet you so eagerly climbed out of! Where’s the noose, your neck is getting too long

      • john smith

        and yeah, the murderers and rapists and pedophiles didn’t choose to be so either, so what’s your point, butt-pirate??

  • Nec

    This is a perfect time to become a lawyer with the spike in divorce cases coming in the near future.

  • Bob Fowler

    Ridiculous!!! Equal rights would mean that you, like everyone else, would wait for ‘normal’ business hours to conduct your business. I am sure that the fact that this will create a media circus, allow for many more ‘reports’ both pro and con, and bring more attention to the fact that NY will be allowing same sex marriages, has absolutely nothing to do with this decision.

    The defense of the extra hours will be that tourism will be increased, as will the free publicity that will be generated. The fact is, as Orwell’s Animal Farm taught, all of the animals are equal, except some are more equal than others.

  • Wanda

    I don’t care. They need to worry about the economy and creating more jobs not raising more taxes.

  • joannie

    Where is the money coming from to pay for this?

    • Taxpayer

      WHY? The license fees aren’t going to pay for the staff, processing, or even the AC for extended and Sunday hours in late July. The Cielos are having their 3rd marriage; it seems to be a habit more than a serious event. They can’t wait for Monday?

      Treating same-sex couples as exceptional & better than everyone else does not create a warm & friendly atmosphere. However, few of these couples think of themselves as ordinary.

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