Ring Them Bells at Sunday's Wedding Reception!
This Sunday ushers in the era of marriage equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender New Yorkers, and it's time to celebrate! Around the country, transgender people have been denied the freedom to marry. Happy marriages have been called "void" and rendered legally nonexistent by courts simply because a spouse was transgender. Each voided marriage was a heartbreak for the families involved, and for the community as a whole.
The era of marriage equality in New York means this: transgender people can marry the people they love just like everyone else, regardless of how the government or anyone else may try to define their sex. New marriage license forms refer only to "Bride/Groom/Spouse A" and "Bride/Groom/Spouse B." Sex is no longer a factor, and the City Clerk's policy barring employees from considering a marriage license applicant's appearance or preconceived notions related to gender expression when deciding whether to issue a marriage license remains in effect, too.
Of course, the battle is hardly over. The fight for federal recognition of our relationships will continue. And there are many states that will refuse to recognize our marriages performed in New York. If you have specific questions about your circumstances, please contact us.
If you plan to marry on Sunday, the first day of marriage equality in New York, please be sure to register for the lottery by noon on Thursday, July 21. There are only a limited number of slots available on that first day, and demand is expected to be high. And please let us know about your plans, especially if you'd be willing to share them with interested press and media.
If you have questions about the process for marrying in New York City, please read the City Clerk's FAQ. For answers to questions about marrying in the rest of New York State, please read the state Department of Health's FAQ.
Finally, please join us for a very special Wedding Reception on Sunday evening in New York City! Along with the Center, Empire State Pride Agenda, Freedom to Marry and Human Rights Campaign, we'll be hosting a community wedding reception from 5:30 - 8:30 pm at the Center. Space is limited and we expect turnout to be high, so please RSVP now to reserve a spot and be part of the celebration.
Congratulations to everyone who helped make this happen, and warm wishes to all the couples who will for the first time be able to enjoy the freedom to marry. Ring them bells!