The town of Brookhaven will open their clerk’s office on Sunday July 24, the same day New York State’s new same-sex marriage legislation goes into effect, to offer licenses for gay and lesbian couples who wish to tie the knot.
Brookhaven Town Clerk Patricia Eddington plans to open the office from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. next Sunday, when offices are usually closed. Request for a marriage license is by appointment only, she said.
Brookhaven joins North Hempstead in being the only two towns on Long Island open to provide marriage licenses for the occassion.
Eddington, a former New York State Assemblywoman, said she voted in favor of same-sex legislation in the past and is “really excited and happy that it passed.”
“I can now perform this ceremony for these people who have been waiting and discriminated against for so many years,” Eddington said, adding, “Separate is not equal…and I think everybody should be treated equally.”
On June 24, the state Senate approved the controversial same-sex marriage bill by a vote of 33-29, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the bill shortly after, allowing same-sex couples to get married after a 30-day moratorium.
Twenty couples have already signed up for the one-day offer in Brookhaven, Eddington said. They will be able to marry the following Monday as a result, since there is still a 24-hour waiting period after applying for a license before any marriage can be officiated under state law.
Eddington said she had to wait for overtime approval before announcing that her office will be open Sunday. A gay couple of 21 years from Ridge inquired last week about whether the town would offer the services on the special date, she added.
The Brookhaven Town Clerk’s Office will also have added security that day due to expected protesters.
Following the Town of North Hempstead’s announcement, The Inn at New Hyde Park said they will offer a free ceremony and reception for couples who want to get married on Monday, July 25. Couples can register by calling the venue or e-mail email@example.com.
In June, Carlyle on the Green in Bethpage State Park announced they, too, would host free weddings for same-sex couples on Tuesday, July 26.
“To do it here at Bethpage is an honor to us and to everyone in the state of New York,” Steve Carl, owner of Carlyle on the Green said at the press conference.