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Town Clerk Prepares for First Gay Marriages

What you need to know about the new NYS marriage licenses.

While gay marriage becomes officially legal on Sunday, the Riverhead Town Clerk's office, where marriage licenses are filled out, will not open until Monday. Other nearby towns such as Brookhaven will open on Sunday to accomodate any eager brides and grooms, but Riverhead Town Clerk Diane M. Wilhelm said they didn't have enough staff to come in on an off-day.

"There's just three of us here, so we'll open on Monday and it'll be business as usual," she said.

Those seeking to marry can fill out the necessary forms on Monday, and will have to wait a mandatory 24-hour period before marrying. The applicants would have 60 days from the day they submitted the application to marry.

The Town of Riverhead officially performs marriages on Thursdays.

The new marriage licenses and forms are almost identical to the ones already in use by the state. However there have been a few changes. The biggest change on both the marriage certificate and application is the heading, which was changed from "Bride" and "Groom" to "Bride/Groom/Spouse." There is also an optional space on the application to indicate the applicant's gender.

Wilhelm could not provide details about how many have asked about the new marriage laws since that is confidential information, although she admitted there "were some inquiries."

"I don't know how busy we'll be," she said. "We'll have to see."

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