ASTORIA – New York City Council Member Costa Constantinides is calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to suspend the in-person requirement for a Clerk’s Office to issue a marriage license in New York State, in recognition of the COVID-19-related closures that have stalled couples from entering unions.
“Sadly, the most sacred compact we can have with another person has also been put on hold by the virus’ spread. Couples hoping to enter into a union are now left in limbo because clerks' offices are closed for at least the next several weeks,” Constantinides wrote to the Governor in a letter dated March 31. “Those recently unemployed might be deprived of their spouse’s benefits — something we should not overlook amid the rising in positive cases throughout New York City.”
Marriage and other civil unions can indeed determine many of the benefits a spouse is entitled to, such as health insurance. The federal government’s recently passed CARES Act also uses marriage as a determining factor in the monetary amount a household can receive to stimulate the economy. It has also left many New Yorkers and their loved ones with an additional layer of anxiety during unprecedented times.
Constantinides requested the Governor use a recent amendment to New York State’s Executive Law to suspend the requirement that marriage licenses be administered in person. He also wrote that clerk’s offices should come up with a plan to issue marriage licenses digitally, in recognition of the challenges brought about by the coronavirus.
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.