Three Minnesota counties will begin
issuing marriage license applications to gay and lesbian couples next
week, nearly two months before a law legalizing marriage equality
takes effect in the state.
Hennepin, Washington and Ramsey
counties will begin issuing marriage license applications to gay
couples for the first time on Thursday, the Minneapolis
“We will be able and ready to accept
applications a week from today,” Mark Chapin, registrar and
director of taxpayer services for Hennepin County, told the paper on
Thursday. “We're opening up the process now so the paperwork can
be handled in a very orderly fashion.”
The move comes after Hennepin County
Attorney Mike Freeman issued an opinion on whether gay couples could
apply for a license before the law takes effect on August 1.
Freeman's opinion stated that couples would be able to apply for and
receive a marriage license that will be valid on August 1.
Hennepin County includes Minneapolis,
the state's largest city, while Ramsey County includes Saint Paul,
the state's second largest city.
Officials in Washington and Ramsey
counties said that they would begin taking applications on Thursday
but no licenses would be issued before 8AM on August 1. That could
mean a wait for couples in those counties due to a five-day waiting
period. Officials said they were discussing alternatives.
Governor Mark Dayton signed the marriage law during a ceremony on the
front steps of the Capitol earlier this month.