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Judges Prepare To Work Sunday For Same-Sex Marriage

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Judges across the city are gearing up to volunteer their time for same-sex marriage on Sunday. NY1’s Courtney Gross filed the following report.

Judge Sidney F. Strauss is voluntarily taking time out of his weekend to ensure that same-sex marriage goes off smoothly in Queens.

Despite the unprecedented occasion, Strauss expects to perform the same ceremony he has done a dozen times before.

"You must give love in order to get love,” said Strauss. “It's wonderful language, and it takes me back 48 years ago when I first got married."

Strauss is just one of the dozens of New York State justices who will voluntarily show up at city clerk offices at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, which is the day same-sex marriage takes effect and normally a judge’s day off.

It culminates a month of anticipation since Albany approved the measure.

Judges will be particularly important this weekend, because under state law, couples must wait 24 hours after getting their marriage license to make it official.

"There are many people very excited to go forward with this,” said Judge Thomas Raffaele of the Queens County Supreme Court. “We will be there to sign whatever waivers are needed, and if people want to do ceremonies, we will be there to do that, as well."

The number of judges who have volunteered for Sunday's ceremonies varies from borough to borough. Just a handful have signed up in Queens, while in other boroughs there are more than 20.

Administrative Judge Sherry Heitler said she is expecting a large turnout.

"I think we're going to have hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands of people that are going to come out," said Heitler.

Included among those people will be Doris Ling-Cohan, who wrote a decision to allow same-sex marriage in New York State five years ago that was eventually struck down.

She will be volunteering her judicial services on Sunday.

"That is one time when a judge really brings joy to the parties,” said Ling-Cohan. “I have taken his advice. I've done a lot of weddings throughout the years and that's why I volunteered."

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