Cuomo says New York will grant marriage licenses remotely: ‘There is now no excuse when the question comes up’

By | April 18, 2020

Kelsey and Alex Lee jumped out of their car to share a toast with co-workers from the Hennepin Healthcare’s physical therapy department on the sidewalk after they were married. The wedding did not go exactly as they planned; there were only two witnesses and the officiant in attendance. Instead of a banquet, Alex Lee picked up take-out and they drove home to their apartment in Hopkins.

Elizabeth Flores | Star Tribune | Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state will start granting marriage licenses remotely as lockdown measures designed to stop the spread of coronavirus remain in effect. 

“There is now no excuse when the question comes up for marriage. No excuse,” Cuomo said at a briefing on Saturday. “You can do it by Zoom. Yes or no.”

Marriages bureaus around the state remain closed as a result of Covid-19. When a reporter asked about what the state was doing to help, Cuomo first joked that the state had not yet taken any action.

“Marriage rate is going down, divorce rate is going up. What are we doing about marriage bureaus? Why didn’t someone think about that?” Cuomo said. 

But Melissa DeRosa, secretary to the governor, sitting to his left, said that “we actually have thought about it.”

“We are today signing an executive order allowing people to get their marriage licenses remotely and also allowing clerks to perform ceremonies over video,” DeRosa said. “So if that’s an avenue people want to go down, it will be available to them.”

A spokesperson for the governor did not immediately respond to an inquiry seeking the text of order. 

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Cuomo said earlier in the briefing that data suggested New York could be past the peak of infections.

He said that coronavirus hospitalizations and intubations, both key measures, were continuing to decline, but warned that significant action was still needed, particularly to boost testing. 

Cuomo said Covid-19 killed at least 540 people in New York on Friday, or 90 fewer than the day before. More than 13,000 in the state have died of the disease. 

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