July 7 (Bloomberg) -- New York City’s clerk will extend office hours to handle an expected flood of couples the week beginning July 24, when New York’s law allowing same-sex marriages takes effect.
Offices in all five boroughs will open on Sunday, July 24, for a full business day and the following Monday through Friday for at least two extra hours, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, City Clerk Michael McSweeney and Council Speaker Christine Quinn, the body’s first openly gay leader, said yesterday in an e-mailed statement.
New York became the sixth and most-populous U.S. state to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples after the Legislature approved the law and Governor Andrew Cuomo signed it on June 24. It was written to take effect within 30 days, leaving some question as to when clerk’s offices would begin to implement it as July 24 fell on a Sunday, when 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,” Bloomberg said in the statement.
State judges will volunteer to perform ceremonies and review waiver requests of New York’s 24-hour marriage waiting period on July 24, according to the statement.
The city expects to reap millions of dollars in additional economic impact from the law as it markets itself as a gay-wedding destination. As of close of business on July 5, the city clerk had received 20 percent more applications for marriage licenses compared with the same period the prior week, said Jamie McShane, a spokesman for Quinn.
Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Connecticut issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, as does the District of Columbia, according to the Washington-based Human Rights Campaign, which advocates equal rights for gay, bisexual and transgender people. New York and Maryland recognize such marriages from other jurisdictions. New York, the nation’s third most-populous state, has 19.4 million residents.
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