December 11, 2012

Falmouth to offer midnight same-sex marriages

By Matt Byrne mbyrne@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

Today's poll: Midnight marriages

Should Portland and other cities open their clerks' offices at 12:01 a.m. Dec. 29 to offer marriage licenses for same-sex couples and others?

Yes

No

View Results

click image to enlarge

Alisson Poisson and Maggie Oechslie of South Portland hold a marriage certificate that Maggie's father made and presented to them in June 2011. Now that it's law, the couple looks forward to getting a legal certificate. Falmouth and Portland have said they will open at midnight Dec. 29 to accommodate requests from residents eager to get married at the earliest possible moment.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette / Staff Photographer

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Clegg, too, said there is precedent for opening city offices outside of normal hours, most recently for voter registration.

Municipalities that plan Saturday hours on Dec. 29 have made it clear that heterosexual couples will also be issued licenses if they show up.

"And if people want a dog license, we'll accommodate that, too," Bridgeo said.

Planer, Falmouth's town clerk, said the town office will open at 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 29 by appointment only, and will open at noon that day for couples who prefer exchanging vows during daylight hours.

Portland Mayor Michael Brennan said Monday that the city's plan to offer marriage licenses the minute gay couples could get them was driven by the historic nature of the law, not a desire to be the first.

"If we're first that's great, and if we're not, congratulations for whoever is able to be first," Brennan said.

Interest in same-sex weddings in Maine has been building since voters approved a citizens initiative Nov. 6 to make them legal.

It intensified last week when the state announced that couples would be able to get married earlier than previously anticipated because the approval process had been quicker than expected.

There are conditions for getting a marriage license: At least one person in the couple must live in the city or town where they seek a license, and they must provide proof of residency.

Gay-rights groups have been helping same-sex couples through the process of getting married in Maine. Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, in concert with EqualityMaine and the Maine Women's Lobby, will host a webinar from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday for same-sex couples who are interested in getting married.

The free event, accessible at: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/791548350, will attempt to answer questions that couples might have. More information is available from GLAD's legal hotline at (800) 455-GLAD or online at: www.glad.org/rights.

-- Staff Writer Matt Byrne contributed to this report.

Staff Writer Eric Russell can be contacted at 791-6344 or at:

erussell@pressherald.com

Twitter: @PPHEricRussell

This story was updated at 9:30 a.m. Dec. 11 to correct the time of the webinar; it is from noon to 1 p.m.

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Today's poll: Midnight marriages

Should Portland and other cities open their clerks' offices at 12:01 a.m. Dec. 29 to offer marriage licenses for same-sex couples and others?

Yes

No

View Results