Tips on Navigating The Marriage License Process For Same-Sex Couples

I receive many technical questions from gay & lesbian couples who are trying to figure out how to navigate the marriage license process in Massachusetts. Recently, I have been lucky enough to be contact with an informative Justice of the Peace from Massachusetts, who has kindly offered his time and expertise to explaining this to me.
Below is a little Q & A about this process to help you plan your gay wedding in Massachusetts:
Q: When do we need to get our license?
A: The required application timeframes and the license expiration period are the factors to consider when planning when to apply for your marriage license.
In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, there is a three-business-day waiting period in between applying for and obtaining your marriage license. This waiting period may possibly be waived, if you want to appear before a Probate Court Judge and explain why you need the waiting period to be waived.
Marriage licenses are good for a period of 60 days. You will need to apply for a new marriage license if your license has expired before your wedding date.
Weekends and government holidays are important to consider when planning the logistics to get your license. If you have any specific questions, contact your local, friendly Town or City Clerk’s office by using the online directory available under the links section on my blog.
Q: Where can I get our marriage license?
A: Marriage licenses can be obtained at any City or Town Clerk’s office. There is not a requirement to get your license in your city/town of residence, nor is there a requirement to get your license in the city/town where you will be having your wedding ceremony. For a list of city/town clerks and their addresses, see the city/town clerks list link in the links section of my blog.
Q: How can I obtain our marriage license?
A: Every city/town is slightly different in their marriage license application procedures, but the City of Cambridge has a great explanation on their website.
The staff at Cambridge City Clerk’s Office is really top notch.
Q: Can I get married in Massachusetts if I’m an ‘out-of-stater’?
A: The appropriate offices to contact with questions regarding obtaining a marriage license are any city or town clerk offices in the Commonwealth. City and town clerks are typically found in the City or Town Hall. You may contact a city or town clerk where you live, where you work, or where it is
convenient for you.
GLAD has assembled a wonderful information page, which includes an up-to-date statement of the law in Massachusetts.
There is also a wealth of additional information on this page, on such topics as name changing, waiting periods, and required documentation.
If you have any more questions about being gay and getting married in Massachusetts, please feel free to contact me!
David Barrett
Justice of the Peace
Toll Free – 1-877-473-7852

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