FAQ’s about Getting Married in Buffalo Niagara
Who can get married under the Marriage Equality Act?
According to the legislation, all same sex couples are able to be married in New York, under the same premise that opposite-sex couples are able to be married. Same-sex couples are now entitled to the same rights, responsibilities, and privileges associated with marriage under New York State Law.
When can same-sex couples be married?
Under the provisions set forth in the law, same-sex couples are able to obtain marriage licenses starting 30 days after the legislation was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo. This date was June 24, 2011 and therefore licenses can be obtained on Sunday, July 24, 2011. According to State law couples must wait 24-hours after receiving the license before they can be married. In some cases, this 24-hour waiting period may be waived by a judge. Some judges have expressed a willingness to waive this requirement for the first day that same-sex marriages are legal in New York, but do not assume that this is the case. Unless you can ensure in advance that you will be able to obtain a waiver, assume that you will have to wait 24 hours after receiving your license before you can actually wed.
Do I have to live in New York State to be married in New York State?
No. Those couples who live in New York State or in another state or country are all welcome to be married in Buffalo Niagara.
How do I get a marriage license?
This can be done at ANY town or city clerk office in Buffalo Niagara and both spouses must be present to sign the marriage license in the presence of the clerk. A representative cannot apply for a license on behalf of one of the spouses, even if that representative has been given the Power of Attorney.
What should we bring when we visit the City Clerk's office to get our Marriage License?
You must bring valid, government-issued identification and the necessary fees. It is also a good idea to bring proof of any previously terminated marriage(s). The following types of identification are acceptable:
- Driver's license, non-driver identification card, or learner's permit, with photograph, from any state or United States territory
- Active United States Military Identification Card
- Valid passport
- United States Certificate of Naturalization (less than 10 years old)
- United States Alien Registration Card
- United States Employment Authorization Card
The city clerk’s fee for a marriage license is $40. Fees are payable with money order or credit card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express). Cash and personal checks are not accepted.
What if I obtain my marriage license in a different town or city within New York State?
You can still use that marriage license to get married in Buffalo Niagara.
What if I was married in another state, can I still marry in New York?
Yes, you and your spouse are eligible to be married in New York, whether you reside here or not. If you bring an original or certified copy of your current Marriage Certificate when applying here, you will not need to wait the 24 hours and can hold your New York marriage ceremony right away. New York does in fact recognize lawful same-sex marriages if they were performed in a state or country where such marriages are legal.
Do we need a witness for our ceremony?
Yes, you need at least one witness 18 years of age or older. After your marriage ceremony, the couple, the person who performs the ceremony, and the witness(es) must all sign the Marriage License. For a list of Open & Affirming Houses of Worship, click here.
Can an employee in the clerk’s office refuse to give us a license or refuse to sign our license application because they object to marriages between same-sex couples?
No. Nothing in the new marriage law or New York anti-discrimination laws allows a civil servant otherwise required to issue licenses for civil marriages to refuse to do so because of personal beliefs or religious objections. When town and city clerks review marriage license applications, they act on behalf of the State of New York. For that reason, they may not treat one group of applicants differently from another group solely because of personal religious objections.
Can a private business, such as a florist or photography studio, refuse to provide a service for my wedding because I am marrying a person of the same sex?
Absolutely not. Anti-discrimination laws in New York forbid discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and marital status. Nothing in the Marriage Equality Act changes this. The Marriage Equality Act does not permit a business that provides goods or services to the public, such as a florist or photography studio, to engage in discrimination that has been illegal in New York for years—regardless of the religious beliefs of a business owner or employee.