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Clerk's Office Open on Sunday to Allow Same-Sex Couples to Marry

10:47 PM, Jul 24, 2011   |    comments
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  • Couples sit down to sign marriage license.

BUFFALO, NY - The clerk's offices for the cities of Buffalo and Niagara Falls were open on Sunday so that marriage licenses could be issued for same-sex couples.

In the City of Buffalo, the clerk's office was open from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. City Clerk Gerald Chwalinski says there were 20 couples who applied for licenses and eight couples were actually married by Chwalinski in civil ceremonies. 

Buffalo residents Daniel Rodgers and his longtime partner Scott Klaurens took the opportunity to tie the knot again. This time legally in New York State.

"We didn't know we'd be able to marry today honestly," said Klaurens. "We thought we're just getting our license. We were told we'd have to wait until Tuesday so we had the first appointment on Tuesday, and then when they found out we were married in Toronto 6 years ago they said that we could get the waiver and go ahead and have the ceremony today."

Originally there was a concern that no notary was available. But a staff aide to City Council President David Franczyk was called in to help provide official certification because he is an attorney and notary.     

Outspoken For Equality President Terry Purdue says Sunday was just an amazing day for same-sex couples who waited years for this one opportunity.

"Some of them have been together for upwards of 10 years. Some have been together for decades, and to be able to say that you're legally married, that you have the rights and benefits and the protections is just, its unique also. It changes that relationship no matter how long you've been together. Marriage always changes that," said Purdue.

Empire State Pride Agenda's Johnathan Lang was also on hand at Buffalo City Hall to give out a special present to same-sex couples after they exchanged their vows. 

"We're handing out about 1,500 sashes across the State from Buffalo to Brookhaven and we are just extraordinarily happy to have the opportunity to give a token of appreciation and thanks to these married couples today," said Lang.

In the city of Niagara Falls, the city clerk's office was open from  6:00 AM  to 11:00 AM. City Clerk Carol Antonucci says 34 licenses were issued and one couple was formally married in the office.  

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