FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Council of the City of New York
Council Member Costa Constantinides, District 22

April 18, 2020
Contact: Terence Cullen
tcullen@council.nyc.gov

Follows Lawmaker’s Request to Gov. Cuomo to Suspend In-Person Requirement, Have Clerks Perform Digital Ceremonies

Astoria, NY — Council Member Costa Constantinides issued the following statement on New York State’s decision to allow couples to marry through the “pause” instituted due to COVID-19. 

“Nothing should get in the way of love — not even a pandemic. Thank you, Governor Cuomo, for hearing our call to allow couples to marry despite in-person requirements to receive a license. There is so much to worry about right now, from fears of contracting coronavirus to struggling to afford rent, that this shouldn’t add to people’s anxiety. That’s especially true as many New Yorkers need their partner’s healthcare coverage and other benefits, which are often only accessible through marriage.” 

Background: 

  • Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa announced an executive order, which will be signed later today, to let couples access marriage licenses remotely, while clerks will be able to perform ceremonies over video. 
  • Council Member Constantinides penned a March 31st letter  to Governor Cuomo, in which he asked the in-person requirement be suspended throughout the crisis. He also called on Clerks’ Offices to find a digital solution to issue licenses and perform ceremonies. 
  • Because New York State is on pause with Clerks’ Offices closed, many couples have been unable to access licenses — even for socially distanced ceremonies — which in turn unlocks legal benefits in this time of need. 

Council Member Costa Constantinides represents the New York City Council’s 22nd District, which includes his native Astoria along with parts of Woodside, East Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights. He serves as the chair of the City Council’s Environmental Protection Committee and sits on three additional committees: Sanitation, Resiliency, and Technology. For more information, visit council.nyc.gov/costa.

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