April 9, 2020 Staff Report
Council Member Costa Constantinides penned a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo last month calling for him to suspend the requirement that couples seeking a marriage license must go to the clerk’s office in person.
Constantinides said that the in-person requirement has stopped couples from being able to marry since the clerk’s office–marriage bureau has been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The closure, Constantinides says, is particularly problematic in these perilous times, since marriage can bring economic benefits such as access to health insurance.
“Sadly, the most sacred compact we can have with another person has also been put on hold by the virus’ spread. Couples hoping to enter into a union are now left in limbo because clerks’ offices are closed for at least the next several weeks,” Constantinides wrote in a March 31 letter to Cuomo.
“Those recently unemployed might be deprived of their spouse’s benefits — something we should not overlook amid the rising in positive cases throughout New York City.”
Constantinides requested the Governor use a recent amendment to New York State’s Executive Law to suspend the requirement that marriage licenses be administered in person.
He also wrote that clerk’s offices should come up with a plan to issue marriage licenses digitally, in recognition of the challenges brought about by the coronavirus.