NYC to hold lottery for Sunday weddings

(AP Photo)

July 19, 2011 3:15:15 PM PDT
Because of high demand, New York City will be holding a lottery for couples wishing to marry on Sunday.

New York State's recently passed marriage equality law takes effect on Sunday, July 24.

The lottery will guarantee access to one of the City Clerk's five offices for 764 couples - opposite sex or same sex.

"We are going to make history on Sunday, with the eyes of the nation once again turning to New York City," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Nobody puts on big events like New York and we will be ready on Sunday for what will no doubt be an historic and unforgettable moment."

Couples wishing to marry on July 24th must register for the lottery by going to the City Clerk's website at or by calling 311. The lottery will open for entries at noon on July 19th and will close to entries at noon on July 21st.

There is no advantage to registering quickly for the lottery. All applicants who register in time will have an equal opportunity to be randomly selected.

There will be a separate lottery for each of the City Clerk's five borough offices and lottery applicants must specify one - and only one - office where they wish to marry.

Winners of the lottery will be notified via e-mail or phone on Friday, July 22nd by noon.

Couples who already have pre-registered for a marriage license must enter the lottery if they wish to marry on July 24th.

Couples selected in the lottery are encouraged to arrive in the morning and must arrive no later than 3:45 PM on Sunday. Couples who were not selected through the lottery process should plan on visiting a Clerk's office location at a future date.

Lottery winners will be able to get married at their designated Clerk's office on Sunday July 24th between 8:30 AM and 4:30 PM. Couples must bring a valid, government-issued identification. 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 ten years old);
  • United States Alien Registration Card; or
  • United States Employment Authorization Card.

    As of Tuesday morning, the City Clerk's Office had received 2,661 online applications since July 5th, of which the Clerk has estimated that 1,728 are from same-sex couples. Data collected by the City showed that 54 percent of the online applicants planned to visit the Clerk's Office on July 24th for their marriage license; and that 50 percent of the applicants planned to get married at the Clerk's Office that day.

    The 764 couples expected to be married on July 24th will be the most on any single day in City history. The previous highs were 621 marriages on Valentine's Day in 2003 and 610 marriages on August 8, 2008 (8/8/08).

    Lottery slots available by borough:

  • 400 Manhattan City Clerk's Office
  • 112 Brooklyn City Clerk's Office
  • 112 Queens City Clerk's Office
  • 98 Bronx City Clerk's Office
  • 42 Staten Island City Clerk's Office The numbers for the slots available are proportional to the number of marriages performed at the City Clerk's offices on a normal day.

    In addition to proper identification, all couples will be required to have a witness with proper identification. The witness must be at least 18 years of age. The fee for a New York City Marriage License is $35, with an additional fee of $25 for a marriage ceremony.

    Couples not selected in the public lottery will be able to receive marriage services any day following Sunday, July 24th at the Clerk's Offices, which will be open for extended hours - 8:30 AM to 6:30 PM - from Monday, July 25th through Friday, July 29th. Couples are encouraged to begin the marriage license application process online by going to