Gay-friendly marriage licenses make debutPublished 10:52am Thursday, June 6, 2013
Same-sex couples can now apply for Minnesota marriage licenses in some counties under the state’s new law allowing gay marriage.
The new, gender-neutral license applications are available Thursday morning in a few of the biggest counties. There’s expected to be lines at some service centers in Hennepin, Ramsey and Washington counties.
In Otter Tail County, same-sex couples will most likely have to wait until July as well.
“I’m planning on going to summer conference next week and asking some of the recorders there about the language they’re using,” said County Recorder Wendy Metcalf.
A number of practical problems have held back changes to the applications. The language used on applications is the biggest issue, and substitutes for phrases like “bride” and “groom” need to be found, according to Metcalf. She will work on those changes after next week’s conference.
The county’s software also needs to be updated. Right now, the county can’t enter licenses earlier because they become official in the system after a mandatory five day waiting period. Same-sex licenses aren’t legal, however, until August 1.
If the software company makes changes to their system and the language is changed, Metcalf said they could start selling them early. Right now, however, she expects it will still be in July. Otter Tail County hasn’t seen the same demand for same-sex licenses like in counties near the metro area.
“I don’t see the rush that we would be needing those applications … We’ve had a few, but we haven’t had that many inquiries,” Metcalf said. “I know we’ll have some, but I don’t see 100 people waiting at our door on August 1.”
In Hennepin County, the new licenses replace the words “bride” and “groom” with “applicant” for both members of the couple.
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