NEW YORK (Reuters) - Same-sex couples eager to marry in New York hit a bureaucratic snag when marriage license applications made available to them for the first time on Tuesday still used the terms “bride” and “groom.”
City Council spokesman Jamie McShane said forms that accommodate all marriages would be online sometime on Tuesday, less than three weeks before New York State’s Marriage Equality Act takes effect.
Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the act into law on June 24, making the state the sixth and most populous in the United States to allow gay marriage.
It was not known if the online form seeking “Groom - Info” and “Bride - Info” was proving a temporary deterrent to applications for marriage licenses.
Some decided to wait, but McShane said that by the close of business, the city clerk’s office reported a 20 percent increase in online applications submitted since June 27.
“I know things take time and being that there is only one option, if it was important for me to be married on July 25th, I would fill out the form as is,” said Sandi Rowe, a graphic designer who wants to marry next year.
She said she encourages wedding planning sites to change their language from the “bride/groom” option.
The Marriage Bureau was due to begin performing ceremonies for same-sex couples on July 25. State law generally requires couples to wait 24 hours after receiving a license before they can be married.
New York was expecting an economic windfall from the legislation.
One estimate by the Independent Democratic Conference advocacy group of New York State Senators estimated that 21,000 gay and lesbian couples would marry in the first three years the law is in force, adding as much as $284 million to the state’s economy over that time.
The window of Rothman’s men’s apparel store in the city’s Union Square had a sign on its front window saying “We love NY equally” to celebrate and attract customers.
“It’s great because we do a lot of weddings in this store and we are excited because frankly it’s a whole other group of people that are now going to be getting married,” owner Ken Giddon said. “All of a sudden every wedding party will have two grooms instead of one.”
Additional reporting by Bobbi Rebell; Editing by Daniel Trotta and David Storey