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New York to allow virtual wedding ceremonies and grant marriage licenses remotely

Published Saturday, Apr. 18th, 2020

Just days after Hawaii banned Zoom Weddings, New York State announced that it is letting its clerks perform ceremonies over video. "There is now no excuse when the question comes up for marriage,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.


This is huge news for wedding officiants in New York, who have been prevented from officiating virtual wedding ceremonies, but with this new order, the rules have been changed, and New York has ushered in a new era of virtual wedding ceremonies.


“I am issuing an Executive Order allowing New Yorkers to obtain a marriage license remotely and allowing clerks to perform ceremonies via video conference,” Cuomo tweeted earlier today. 


Melissa DeRosa, secretary to the governor, told CBS News that the state will start granting marriage licenses remotely as lockdown measures designed to stop the spread of coronavirus remain in effect. 


"We are today signing an executive order allowing people to get their marriage licenses remotely and also allowing clerks to perform ceremonies over video," DeRosa said. "So if that's an avenue people want to go down, it will be available to them."


The Cuomo brothers on CNN


The text and more details about the order have not been made available at the time of publication, so it’s not clear exactly what a virtual courthouse wedding will look like. But we’re excited to see that local governments are being flexible.


New York has been the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, and this decision by Governor Cuomo could set the standard for other states grappling with ways to let couples get married in compliance with social distancing mandates. 


“Video marriage ceremonies. There is now no excuse when the question comes up for marriage,” Cuomo said. “You can do it by Zoom. It’s ‘yes’ or ‘no.’”


“I think the divorce rate is going up,” Cuomo told one reporter while noting that the marriage rate was going down.


Here at American Marriage Ministries, we hope this decision helps reverse the trend, and brings joy to thousands of couples in New York whose wedding ceremonies were put on hold.



Be sure to check back in with us here at American Weddings to stay up to date with wedding ceremonies in the time of Coronavirus.

Lewis King
Lewis King

Staff Writer

Lewis loves exploring the space between power, discourse, and material reality where institutions like marriage are defined. He also wears other hats at AMM, like taking out the recycling and restocking the sparkling water.

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