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Olmsted might not accept same-sex marriage applications until July

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While some Minnesota counties have begun accepting marriage license applications from same-sex couples, couples in southeastern Minnesota will have to wait a little longer.

Olmsted County Property Records and Licensing Director Mark Krupski said work still needs to be done to update the county's online marriage forms to change the categories of "groom" and "bride" to "applicant 1" and "applicant 2." He expects same-sex couples will be able to apply for licenses before the law takes effect Aug. 1.

"I believe at some point we certainly plan to do some early applications for the marriage license, but I don't expect that to happen until some point in July," Krupski said.

On Thursday, three Twin Cities-area counties — Hennepin, Ramsey and Washington — began accepting marriage license applications from same-sex couples. Nicollet and Pipestone counties also have begun taking applications. Couples receive a wedding license post-dated for Aug. 1.

Project 515, a group that fights for same-sex couples' rights, is urging other counties to allow same-sex couples to apply for a license early so they can get married on Aug. 1, said the group's communications director, Eric Jensen. Minnesota has a five-day waiting period for all marriages. That means same-sex coupes would have until July 26 to apply for a license or would have to get the waiting period waived by a judge in order to get married on Aug. 1.

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"We definitely want to work with them and encourage them to make the process as easy for same-sex couples as it has been for other couples over the years," Jensen said.

For some counties, technology issues pose the biggest challenge. Goodhue County Deputy Recorder Brenda Gadient said her county's computer system automatically makes wedding licenses official after five days. Since same-sex weddings are not allowed under the law until Aug. 1, the county needs to figure out how to override its software. The county's forms also need to be updated.

At this point, Gadient said the county is not planning to allow same-sex couples to apply for marriage licenses early, but there is a possibility licenses might be made available at the end of July so couples can get married on Aug. 1.

Same-sex couples in southeastern Minnesota do have the option of applying for a marriage license in another county and then getting married in their home county.

Next week, the Minnesota Association of County Recorders is conducting its annual conference, which is expected to include discussions on how to implement the same-sex marriage law. Krupski said that, so far, the county has not received many calls from gay couples inquiring about how to apply for a wedding license.

He added, "We'll step it up if we feel like we are getting a lot of backlog of people saying they really want this right away, but we haven't been hearing that."

Related Topics: OLMSTED COUNTY
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