By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com June 25 2003 12:00 AM ET
At the official start of its annual Pride Week celebration Monday, the city of Toronto announced that it will keep its clerk's office open over the weekend to handle an increased demand for marriage licenses by gay couples. "It was a reaction to the fact that it's Pride Week, and we do anticipate a demand," city spokesman Brad Ross told the Toronto Star. The clerk's office has issued 193 marriage licenses to same-sex couples since a June 10 ruling by the Ontario court of appeal allowed gay and lesbian couples to get married in the province. With Pride Week under way, Ross says the city anticipates interest from visitors from around the world, since citizenship, residency, blood tests, and
medical certificates are not required to obtain a license. Marriage licenses have already been issued to same-sex couples from the United States, the United Kingdom, China, and the Cayman Islands, Ross said. Five of the licenses issued Monday were for Americans, including couples from Chicago and Tampa, Fla. Ross said 10 licenses for U.S. couples were issued on Friday.
The licenses, which cost $110, are valid anywhere in Ontario for three months from the date of issue.
Extended hours at the clerk's office, located at City Hall, will be 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. No appointment is necessary. Those interested will be required to produce a passport or original birth certificate along with photo identification for both parties, an application signed by both applicants, and, if needed, a divorce certificate. Although access to the clerk's office on weekends won't become a regular occurrence, Ross said the city might consider extending its hours again during Pride Week next year if there's enough demand.