Same-sex couples hoping to obtain a marriage license from the Town of Smithtown this Sunday - when the Marriage Equality Act goes into effect in New York – will have to wait another day.
Although some town offices will be open by appointment on Sunday, Smithtown Town Clerk Vincent Puleo said July 25 will be the first day his office will be accepting applications for same-sex marriage certificates.
“We’ve received several phone calls and a handful of emails. Each time the question is when, what time and can we make an appointment. In our office, it’s first-come, first-serve,” Puleo said.
He is preparing for a possible rush on Monday. Puleo said he’s asked his staff not to take vacation over the next week to have personnel to handle the demands. There will be three to four people available to fill out marriage certificate forms on Monday morning.
The new forms that offer the options of “Bride/Groom/Spouse” under headings that previously were divided “Bride” or “Groom.” The new application also has an optional field for sex.
“What my staff is ready to do is let the couples dictate to us who will be the bride, groom or spouse. It’s all up to the couple sitting in front of the person filling in the application,” Puleo said.
In order to obtain a marriage license, couples must bring proof of age, such as a birth certificate or naturalization record, and provide photo identification. Valid photo identification includes a driver’s license/non-driver’s ID, a passport, employment photo identification, immigration record or military identification. Marriage licenses are valid for 60 days.
Feelings on providing same-sex marriage licenses is mixed in the Town Clerk’s office. While some staff members expressed excitement, while others are complying with their civic duty.
“In my opinion, as a Christian conservative, I do not agree with the principal. I believe marriage is between a man and a woman,” Puleo said. “But my job is my job. I will not stand in the way of what my job is. I’m not excited because I don’t agree with the law, but I still have to perform the job I’ve sworn to do.”
Couples will have to wait 24-hours under New York State to hold their ceremony, although this waiting period can be waived by a Suffolk County judge.