Same fee, big changes on the way.
That's the story coming from the town clerk's office in Tuesday as preparations are underway to handle fallout from last week's historic vote which granted same-sex couples the right to marry legally in New York.
With the passage of the Marriage Equality Act Friday by the state Legislature, new requirements and an increased workload will require updates to the computer system and new forms for those applying for marriage licenses, according to town clerk Jo-Ann Raia.
With a large number of same-sex couples expected to file for licenses, Raia said her office is busy preparing for changes that go into effect July 24. Currently, state vital records attorneys are working to create updated marriage license and certificate forms — which will now be gender neutral.
“We’re waiting to see what they will look like,” said Raia, who expects the new forms to arrive within two weeks. After July 24, current marriage application forms will not be accepted statewide, she said.
Changes to marriage forms are not uncommon to the clerk's office. Alterations were needed when blood tests were no longer required by the state and again when social security numbers were added to the forms — "but nothing as big as this," according to Raia.
With calls already coming in regarding changes to the marriage law from applicants, Raia encourages interested couples to contact her office when the new forms have arrived. Monday, July 25 marks the actual first day that same sex marriage licenses will be issued, the new forms should be available by then.
"I certainly hope so," said Raia, a marriage officer who has married more than 500 couples at town hall.
Despite changes to the law, the $40 marriage license fee will remain the same. The fee includes a marriage certificate. Couples must submit to the 24-hour waiting period between obtaining their marriage license and getting married. Marriage licenses are issued by appointment on Friday evenings for Huntington residents only.