In order to accommodate an estimated 2,000 gay couples who want to get married at the earliest opportunity, which is this coming Sunday, July 24th, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has decided to hold a lottery to choose about 760 lucky couples to tie the knot.
Law Passed Thirty Days Ago
The New York State law permitting gay couples to wed was passed on June 24th. However, according to New York law legislation does not officially go into effect until 30 days after its passage, which this year falls on a Sunday, when government offices are traditionally closed. But in a magnanimous gesture which underscored the support the mayor, and other government officials, have for this controversial legislation, Bloomberg decided to open the relevant offices on Sunday to wed the waiting couples at the earliest possible opportunity.
The offices cannot serve all 2,000 of the expected couples no matter how much they would like to, so a lottery has been proposed by the mayor to facilitate the marriage of about 760 of the couples.
How to Participate
To participate in the lottery couples should call 311 during the 48 hours which begin at 12pm on Tuesday, July 19. The 760 winners will be notified by Friday, at noon.
Gay couples who do not win the lottery will also be helped the following week with extra judges being brought in to accommodate the larger than usual numbers of couples expected, as well as having extra supporting staff and longer hours each day.
Three Steps on One Day
Couples who win the lottery will be given a specific time to arrive. They should expect the process to take about one hour on Sunday, which will contain all three of the necessary steps before a couple is considered legally wed: granting a marriage license, granting a waiver of the traditional waiting period, and performing the ceremony.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn explained that waivers are always granted unless one of the individuals appears to be under duress or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Each of New York’s five boroughs is holding its own lottery, and couples can only register for one of them. Couples must also use the names which will appear on the marriage licenses in order to prevent winners from either giving away or selling their coveted spot.
There will be only one exception to the need to enter the lottery: the mayor himself will be officiating one wedding to take place at Gracie Mansion of two city officials.