Tuesday, July 19, 2011

New York Prepares For Historic Marriage Equality Launch This Sunday

With New York state set to begin legal weddings for same-sex couples this Sunday, July 24, the city is overwhelmed with couples eager to tie the knot and make what so recently seemed an impossible dream reality.

As of Tuesday, CBS News reported that 2,661 couples have pre-applied for marriage licenses online, including 1,728 from same sex couples. As a result, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg has initiated a lottery for nuptials performed Sunday in the city clerk's five borough offices, with a total of 764 slots: 400 in Manhattan, 112 in Brooklyn, 112 in Queens, 98 in the Bronx and 42 on Staten Island.

Typically, the city clerk's office is closed Sunday, but Bloomberg is making an exception, given the launch of marriage equality. “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 biggest day of their lives,” he said. Openly gay City Council Speaker Christine Quinn added, “We want to make sure Sunday is not like a trip to [the DMV]. We want to make sure it’s a day you’ll remember forever.”

Couples can register for the lottery online or by calling 311 in the 48 hours that began noon Tuesday. Winners will be notified by Friday at noon. Interesting side note: Marital data obtained by The New York Post shows a 3-to-2 ratio of lesbian marriages over gay male couples.

Meanwhile, on July 25th, the Niagara Falls Tourism Bureau is planning a massive group wedding ceremony in celebration of New York's legalization of gay marriage, including a Rainbow Romance package available for gay couples. Niagara has good reason for supporting same-sex nuptials: The tourism bureau estimates $400 million in economic benefits over a three-year period. Showing its true colors, Niagara Falls will be lit in rainbow colors July 24-25 in celebration of gay marriage.