BY Advocate Contributors
November 18 2011 5:00 AM ET
Where can we obtain a marriage license? You can apply at any city or town clerk’s office. Some accept applications online, but the process must be finalized in person.
What documentation is needed? Bring two forms of ID to prove age and identity such as a birth certificate, driver’s license, or passport. Divorced applicants and minors may require proof of dissolution of previous marriages, domestic partnerships, and civil unions, or the written consent of both parents. Check with the office in advance.
Can the waiting period be waived? The mandatory 24-hour waiting period between the issuing of the marriage license and the ceremony can be circumvented with a judicial waiver. Consult with the clerk to make arrangements.
Who can perform the ceremony? A valid license entitles the holders to a civil marriage ceremony or a religious ceremony, provided the clergy member or house of worship approves. City and town clerks that issue marriage licenses also perform civil ceremonies, as do eligible officiants throughout the state.
How much does it cost? A marriage license in New York City costs $35. The ceremony is an additional $25 if performed by the clerk. Outside New York City, the marriage license costs $40.
Should we bring a witness? Yes, try to bring at least one adult witness over age 18. It is likely, but not guaranteed, that clerks’ offices can provide a witness.
Can we change our last names? The marriage license application offers spouses the option of keeping or changing their last names in a variety of formulations.
Will our marriage be recognized by other states? While six states, one district, and the Coquille Indian Tribe in Oregon recognize same-sex marriages performed in New York, most states and the federal government do not. As of press time, California, Connecticut, D.C., Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Maine, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Maryland, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin are expected to recognize the union as either a marriage, civil union, or all-but-marriage civil partnership, which may afford a different status.