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Lesbian and gay couples in a hurry to tie the knot still can’t run to the nearest chapel — but Borough Hall’s doors will be wide open for them.
In a “wedding present” of sorts (who needs a new toaster, anyway?), Borough President Markowitz vowed to open up the people’s house for couples planning to get married on the same day the new same-sex marriage law goes into effect.
“You don’t have to go to Manhattan to get married,” Brooklyn’s biggest booster told a room full of LGBT couples and supporters during a Borough Hall “champagne toast” to gay nuptials last Wednesday. “You can go right across the street to complete your paperwork, then you can come right back here. We’ll have some judges ready to do the ceremony for you ASAP.”
There will even be champagne and photographers, he said.
For further help with the big day, Markowitz will be hosting Brooklyn’s first-ever LGBT wedding expo in Borough Hall on July 25.
“You have no idea how many catering facilities out there that want your business,” he said.
Albany legalized same-sex marriage on June 24. Once the law goes into effect on July 24, same-sex couples can get married and begin receiving the same state benefits heterosexual couples do.
And, like all couples planning to wed, they have to follow a few rules: once they apply online and show up in person at the Office of the City Clerk at 360 Adams St. to finish the application, excited couples will have to painstakingly suffer through a 24-hour waiting period before a ceremony could be performed.
Markowitz expects the first wave of LGBT couples looking to get married to arrive on July 25 or July 26, since July 24 lands on a weekend. The city hasn’t decided yet if its going to open its clerks offices on that Sunday.
And same-sex couples can’t get married anywhere. Legislators made it crystal clear that no religious institution will be forced to perform a same-sex marriage ceremony if they don’t want to.
As far as Borough Hall goes, looking around the marbled entrance and expansive meeting area, LGBT couples were impressed by Markowitz’s offer to turn the building into a catering hall.
“It’s a nice place,” said Michael Thibeault, who was celebrating the passage of gay marriage with his partner Chuck Gonzalez. “We don’t have a date set yet, but this could be a possibility.”
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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