Lottery Will Determine Who Weds July 24, First Day for Same-Sex Marriage in NYC
Applications for marriage licenses in New York City have surged to nearly 2,600 since July 5, with 54% of those couples hoping to be married this Sunday, the first day same-sex marriages will be performed in New York. (1,728 of those 2,600 applications are from same-sex couples.) The city feels it can only marry 764 couples -- and this is a record -- on one particular day; hence, a lottery is being implemented to determine who gets the 24th as their wedding day. Mayor Bloomberg's office instructs, "Couples wishing to marry on July 24th must register for the lottery by going to the City Clerk's website at www.nyc.gov or by calling 311. The lottery will open for entries at noon on July 19th and will close to entries at noon on July 21st."
Winners of the lottery will be notified via e-mail or phone on Friday, July 22, by noon. Bloomberg said, "The last thing we want is for couples to wait on line for hours and hours, only to walk away upset on what was supposed to be the happiest day of their lives. The fairest way to determine who gets the chance to wed on Sunday and ensure everyone can properly plan for their own big day is through an even-handed lottery system. Nobody puts on big events like New York and we will be ready on Sunday for what will no doubt be an historic and unforgettable moment."
Also, via the New York Times City Room blog, "Asked if he expected crowds to camp out in hopes of getting a license, Mr. Bloomberg said tartly, 'It's not buying an iPad 2.'" (Bloomberg will be officiating the wedding of two of his advisers, John Feinblatt and Jonathan Mintz, at Gracie Mansion on July 24.)
According to a statement from the Human Rights Campaign by senior strategist Brian Ellner,
"The record-breaking number of couples registering to marry shows how popular--and right-- passing marriage equality was. The lottery is a good compromise. Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Quinn took this great problem to have and came up with a good solution. There will be a lot of love at the City Clerk's Office on Sunday. Every lawmaker, Democrat and Republican, should take heart that New York families are all the stronger."
The best news is that the 24th is not the only day same-sex couples can legally marry in New York. May there be many, many joyful days to come.