New York’s marriage equality lottery

Prepping the cake-toppers.
Prepping the cake-toppers.
Mary Altaffer/AP

Here in New York City, officials are holding a new kind of lottery. If you win this one, you don’t get money. You get the right to be among the first same-sex couples to be married here in the state when it officially becomes legal on Sunday.

After marriage equality was passed in Albany last month, city officials say they were inundated with marriage requests from gay and lesbian couples.

Today, city officials said they expect 764 couples will be married on Sunday. That’s more than a previous record of 621 set in 2003 on Valentine’s Day.

At a recent news conference, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg told reporters, “We’ve done our homework and it’s clear that the number of couples who want to marry on Sunday is more than the City Clerk’s offices could possibly handle.”

Bloomberg and other city officials said that 2,661 online applications had been made since July 5. Of those applications, 1,728 were same-sex couples benefiting from New York State’s Marriage Equality Act.

The full details about the lottery are available on the New York City government’s website. But New York Magazine wins the award for funniest headline accompanying this story: “Straight People: Please Don’t Get Married on July 24.”