Saturday, September 20, 2014

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Lottery System In Place For Same-Sex Marriages Sunday

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With the state's Marriage Equality Act set to take effect this weekend, city officials announced Tuesday a lottery to meet the strong demand of nuptials that are expected to take place.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg says a total of 764 couples -- both opposite and same-sex -- will be chosen to wed in the City Clerk's offices on Sunday: 400 in Manhattan; 112 in Brooklyn; 112 in Queens; 98 in the Bronx and 42 on Staten Island.

Applications for the lottery will be open from 12 p.m. today until 12 p.m. Thursday.

Winners will be notified by email or phone on Friday.

Speaking to reporters earlier today, Bloomberg said the city needed to come up with a fair way to meet the unprecedented high demand.

"The city can only accommodate a certain number of things. It's like everything else," said the mayor. "Lots of people want things and there is only a certain amount of capacity and we will handle you on day two and going forward."

"We want to make sure that Sunday is not like a trip to [the Department of] Motor Vehicles," said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. "Most important is that making sure nobody shows up, waits for hours and doesn't get married."

The news was disheartening to some applicants. Applicants Alfred Gonzales and Tom Allsup, who live in the city and have been a couple for 17 years, were split over the mayor's announcement.

"He says this is like anything else, you can only do so much. Yeah, well, it's also a historic day," Gonzales said.

"Tomorrow's another day. Just wait until Monday to go in and do it. I will be happy for those people when it's their day, and I will be happy when I go in and do it," Allsup said.

The most marriages previously performed by the City Clerk on any given day was 621, on Valentine's Day 2003.

For more information or to register, New Yorkers can call 311 or visit nyc.gov.

One couple is bypassing the process. Consumer Affairs Commissioner Jonathan Mintz and one of the mayor's closest advisors, John Feinblatt, are getting married on Sunday at Gracie Mansion and Bloomberg is officiating.

Meanwhile, surrounding suburban towns, including North Hempstead on Long Island, are offering on Sunday to marry couples who do not win the city's lottery.

Same-sex couples will also have an opportunity to get married next week, as all city clerk's offices will be open for extended hours.

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