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NYC Holds Lottery For Gay Couples Hoping to Wed July 24

Tracy Bloom |
July 20, 2011 | 4:46 p.m. PDT

Executive Producer

Same-sex couples hoping to marry in New York City on July 24--the first day gay marriage is legal in that state--will have to enter a lottery, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Tuesday. 764 couples will be selected from the lottery to wed that Sunday in the city clerk's office.

Anticipating the Sunday wedding rush, officials implemented the lottery with the hope that couples looking to get married won't be turned away after waiting in line for hours.

“The last thing we want to have happen is for couples to wait on line for hours and hours, only to walk away upset on what was supposed to be the biggest day of their lives,” Bloomberg said in a news conference.

“We want to make sure that Sunday is not like a trip to motor vehicles,” said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

The Washington Post reported:

Officials said 2,661 couples have already preregistered for marriage licenses online, and they believe about half of them wish to be married on Sunday. In all, officials expect about 2,500 couples to enter the lottery.

Couples who live out of state can enter the lottery, but officials said they expect the majority of entrants to be local residents.


The New York Times reported :

The lottery for marriage licenses opened on the city’s Web site at noon on Tuesday and will close at noon on Thursday. The city said 400 couples entered the lottery on Tuesday; winners will be notified by noon on Friday.

Under the city’s plan for Sunday, 400 couples will be able to marry in Manhattan, 112 each in Brooklyn and Queens, 98 in the Bronx and 42 on Staten Island. City officials said the numbers were proportional to the number of marriages performed at each borough’s office on a typical day.

Couples can also enter the lottery by calling 311. Winners will be notified by noon on Friday.

Any couple not selected can go the city clerk's office and marry on a first-come, first-serve basis beginning Monday. The city clerk's office will be open an extra two hours, while extra judge's and staff will be on hand to help handle the anticipated demand.



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