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Friday, June 06, 2008

Gay couples can get marriage licenses at 5:01 p.m. June 16

By Linda Goldston
Mercury News

It's official: Some gay marriage licenses in California will be issued at 5:01 p.m. on June 16 and not a day later, as originally thought. But not in Santa Clara County.

"It's a little difficult when you have to undo everything," said Regina Alcomendras, Santa Clara County Clerk-Recorder. "We'll stick with the plan we have."

Alcomendras said her office will open at 8:30 a.m. June 17 and urged couples planning to take out licenses to make appointments if they plan to marry that day as well.

"We'll take walk-ins but when there are no available rooms for the ceremony, they'll have to wait," she said.

The California Supreme Court's June 4th order legalizing same sex marriage becomes final at 5 p.m. June 16. Clerks and city and county officials had believed licenses could not be issued until the following morning.

But in a clarification notice on Thursday, the California Department of Public Health's Office of Vital Records told county clerks and recorders they could begin using the new state marriage license forms at 5:01 p.m. June 16. The new forms designate "Party A" and "Party B" instead of "bride" and "groom."

'If the courts take additional action, we will provide further guidance to the counties as needed,' the notice stated. But, the notice said, county clerk's offices are not required to stay open beyond normal business hours. Alcomendras said her office has been training for the upcoming nuptials. She said she has deputies who will be able to perform the civil wedding ceremonies.

San Francisco officials said Thursday they will keep their clerk's office open and begin issuing licenses at 5:01 p.m. June 16. Mayor Gavin Newsom had been pressing the state to allow San Francisco to issue their first same-sex licenses at 5:01 p.m. June 16.

Information and Documents Regarding California Marriage Licenses (State of California)

Sample License and Certificate of Marriage and instructions

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