New York City, expecting unprecedented demand for marriage services this Sunday has set a cap at 764 and a lottery system to avoid “chaos,” as they have already been besieged by 2,661 requests. New York Times:
Mr. Bloomberg said the city would hold a lottery to determine which couples, gay or straight, will be allowed to marry at the five borough clerks’ offices. He said the 764 marriages would be the highest number ever performed by the city in a single day.
The city said it was imposing the cap in an effort to avoid chaos on Sunday. The clerk’s office has already received 2,661 applications for licenses since it started accepting online applications from same-sex couples. City officials estimated that 1,728 of those applications were from same-sex couples. Most couples do not apply online for licenses before showing up at a clerk’s office, so the number seeking to marry on Sunday would probably be much higher.
“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 happiest day of their lives,” Mr. Bloomberg said in a statement. “The fairest way to determine who gets the chance to wed on Sunday and ensure everyone can properly plan for their own big day is through an evenhanded lottery system.”
July 24th is the first day that the new marriage equality law takes effect. It is also a Sunday. Ordinarily, state and city offices would be closed that day. It’s heartwarming to see state and city governments bending the rules a little and opening up on a day off, just so the gays don’t have to wait an extra day. Let’s hear it for our government employees for working on the weekend.
A City press release is here. It explains how to participate in the lottery system, if you’re interested in doing so. The highest previous number of marriages performed in a single day was 621 for Valentine’s day, 2003.
News upstate is venerable wedding destination Niagara Falls is looking to
cash-in celebrate as well. The state’s first same-sex marriage will come at the stroke of midnight (Saturday night, or Sunday am) in (where else?) Niagara Falls. From PolitickerNY:
The inaugural couple will be Kitty Lambert and Cheryle Rudd, Buffalo residents who have been trying to wed for over a decade and who have five children and 12 grandchildren between them. According to a release from New Yorkers United for Marriage, the couple will marry at Luna Island while the Falls behind them will be lit with the colors of the rainbow flag.
I know Kitty was a powerhouse volunteer with the grassroots group Marriage Equality New York. If anyone deserved this honor it’s her! Her Senator, Republican Mark Grisanti may very well have flipped to “Yes” just to make her leave him alone. Mavel Tov!
More on Niagara Falls, NY’s plans from Nigara Falls USA blog:
Niagara Falls, N.Y.- With the recent passage of the marriage equality act in New York State, the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp., will host one of the first official group wedding ceremonies, July 25 in Niagara Falls State Park.
In an effort to partner tourism related opportunities with the passage of the Marriage Equality Act in New York State, the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp. (NTCC), unveiled plans Friday to hold a group wedding ceremony on July 25 in Niagara Falls, N.Y., as well as a new ‘Rainbow Romance’ package on the agency’s Niagara-USA.com reservation system.
The event, which is aimed at highlighting the passage of the marriage equality act, is expected to be one of the first official LGBT group wedding ceremonies in New York State. This wedding ceremony, being held at Niagara Falls State Park, will reinvent Niagara USA as a premier marriage and honeymoon destination, as well as translate to a tremendous economic impact for the regions tourism industry.
Advocates for marriage equality promised passage would stimulate upwards of $400 million in economic benefits over a three-year period. Time magazine reported an estimated 21,309 resident gay and lesbian couples are predicted to take the plunge in a three-year period, and 45,000 out-of-state couples are predicted to visit New York to exchange vows. If those numbers are good, state and city coffers promise to swell by $3,978,540 in plus license fees alone.
And looks like the powers that be are determined to help make good on their promises.
New York City’s business community partnership NYC & Co. has announced a global ad campaing, NYC I Do, aimed at luring LGBTs from around the country and the world into coming to the Big Apple to tie the Big Knot.
Kimberly Spell, a spokeswoman for NYC & Company is quoted in Time saying the NYC I Do campaign “will create millions of dollars in additional economic impact to the city’s $31 billion tourism industry.”
A same-sex marriage page has already gone live on the partnership’s site, with a FAQ walking wannabe newlyweds through the process. Of course, there are also lots of helpful suggestions for venues and vendors, like my personal local favorite, Brooklyn’s famous River Cafe, pictured above. I took mom there for Mother’s Day once. May I soon have the opportunity (and means) to return to celebrate another special occasion.
I’ll be at the City Hall on Sunday (just to observe, alas). I’ll also be joining Marriage Equality New York for their SeaTea (booze cruise) celebration that night. New Yorkers interested in whooping it up on the Hudson River and New York harbor can still get $25 tickets at MENY’s site. Dinner, dancing (tunes courtesy of DJ Chris Padilla) and drag entertainment performances from Miss Peppermint are included.
MENY’s Seatea promises to be a very hot party. And it’s just a three-hour tour, what could go wrong with that?