60 Judges Promise to Marry Gay Couples, as Marriage Clerks Step Down Under Threat of Criminal Prosecution


LetThePeopleVote.comThe New York Law Journal reports:

Almost 60 judges in New York City have volunteered to help remove the last legal roadblock to the immediate weddings of gay and lesbian couples once they finally are recognized by the state on a Sunday in 10 days, court officials said yesterday.

...Same-sex marriage "has been a long time coming and many long time friends have waited for years," said Justice Rosalyn H. Richter, of the Appellate Division, First Department, who is one of an estimated 20 openly gay judges in the state. [...] Justice Richter plans to marry her partner, although she said that the date and other arrangements are private.

...couples who obtain a marriage licenses cannot be married for 24 hours. Those who want an on-the-spot wedding on July 24 will have to go before a Supreme Court justice or a County Court judge to obtain a waiver of the state-required waiting period. [...] So far, few communities upstate have announced plans to follow the city's example.

...Under ยง13-b of the Domestic Relations Law, a waiver can be granted when there is a danger of imminent death or there is some other emergency and the public interest would be promoted by an immediate wedding or in cases where a delay would cause "irreparable injury or great hardship" to the couple.

Court observers say that waivers are almost always granted when they are requested. One judge reported that he had recently waived the waiting period to accommodate a couple who wanted to make plane connections.

There are 1,250 judges in New York state.