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Wedding Planning: New York-Style

Michael Cummings,
New York Civil Liberties Union
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July 7, 2011

Weddings raise a lot of questions: Who should we invite? Do we want an outdoor or indoor ceremony? Do we hire a DJ or a band for the reception?

With New York State’s new law giving lesbian and gay couples the freedom to marry set to take effect on July 24, thousands of same-sex couples are tackling these same logistical questions. But they also face complex and serious questions regarding their rights — questions most wedding planners can’t answer.

The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) is here to help. Check out Fair Marriage Laws in New York: Frequently Asked Questions — our new guide to the Marriage Equality Act.

The guide covers a wide range of topics, including: the nuts and bolts of applying for a marriage license, the rights and responsibilities conferred by marriage, and the implications of the law’s religious exemptions. It addresses specific questions such as:

  • How do we get married? What do we need to do?
  • If we don’t live in New York, can we still get married in New York?
  • What kinds of benefits will we get from marriage?
  • What effect does the federal Defense of Marriage Act have on our marriage?
  • Can a church or member of the clergy refuse to marry me and my partner?
  • Can I be discriminated against for marrying someone of the same sex?
  • Can a private business, like a florist or photography studio, refuse to provide a service for my wedding because I am marrying a person of the same sex?

The guide will help couples understand their rights at a time when, sadly, the vast majority of states and the federal government still fail to recognize same-sex marriages. It will provide couples some peace of mind and allow them to focus their attention on things that matter — like finding a reasonably priced photographer.

The guide is currently available on the NYCLU’s website. A printed version will be available soon.

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