City Paper is not for tourists
Gay and itching to get married? On March 3, 2010, same-sex couples will be legally allowed to marry apply for marriage in the District of Columbia, and the D.C. government has just issued some guidelines on how it’s all going to go down. Here’s how to get hitched as soon as possible [This post has been updated to reflect the latest info from D.C. Superior Court]:
* On the morning of Wed., March 3, head to D.C. Superior Court’s H. Carl Moultrie Courthouse at 500 Indiana Avenue NW. The courthouse marriage bureau will open at 8:30 a.m., but couples will likely be gathering outside beforehand in order to secure their place in line. God knows at what hour the most marriage-eager couples will arrive.
* Fred Phelps‘ anti-gay brigade plans to show up as well to district you from your mission, but Phelps is planning on a late start, around 11 a.m. Show up early and you may only catch their protests on your way out the door. Join up with these folks if you want to participate in the counter-protest.
* Once inside, know how to get through security quickly. You’ll have to take off your coat and feed all of your belongings through a metal detector. If you have a camera or recording device, you may be asked to tag it with your name and leave it at the front door. You’re wasting precious time! After you get inside, head up the escalators and find the D.C. Superior Court Marriage Bureau at room #4485. UPDATE: D.C. Superior Court says that in order to accommodate the rush, applicants will be asked to line up outside 4485.
* Once inside room 4485, be prepared with the necessary documents to get hitched. Both One party to the marriage must bring proof of ID for both parties (acceptable forms include a driver’s license, passport, or government-issued I.D.). You also must have also decided on an officiant for your marriage ceremony. You must list the name of the person who will be performing the marriage—-acceptable officiants include D.C. judges and “anyone who is authorized by a religious organization to officiate marriages, such as a minister, priest, rabbi, imam, so long as he or she is registered with the Marriage Bureau to officiate marriages.” UPDATE: D.C. Superior court says that marriage applicants can also request a civil wedding at the courthouse with their applications, but you’ll have to wait a bit longer for that—-the ceremony will be scheduled at least ten business days later.
* Familiarize yourself with the application [PDF]. This version, from Dec. 2008, specifies a “Bride” and “Groom.” Presumably, there will be an updated version of the application available that doesn’t specify the partners’ gender once same-sex marriage becomes legal in D.C. UPDATE: The court has since updated its application in gender-neutral language.
* Come with $35 cash or money order made out to “Clerk of the Court, D.C. Superior Court.” Bring along an extra $10 if you want a “certified copy of the marriage certificate.” If you’re already registered as domestic partners in D.C., don’t worry about the $35 application fee—-it’s waived, as long as you bring your certificate proving the partnership. UPDATE: If you want, you can also pay the fee on another day before the license is issues; you can pay anytime, you just won’t get your license without the receipt.
* Ask yourself: Are you already part of a domestic partnership or civil union from another state? If so, make sure you’ve checked up on your state laws to see if you need to have that union dissolved before you get hitched in D.C. Are you and your partner already legally married in another state? Go home! According to the D.C. gov, “If you are part of a same-sex couple that has been legally married in another state or country . . . there is no need for you to register your marriage or domestic partnership with the city.”
* Save your receipt. You’ll have to come back down to court to pick up your license. UPDATE: If you can’t make it to the courthouse yourself, you can also have a friend pick it up for you!
* Wait. After you file your application, you’re legally required to wait three full days before a license can be issued. So if you apply for a marriage license on Wed., March 3, your license cannot legally be issued until Tues., March 9.
Photo via nerdcoregirl, Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0