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New marriage license applications available ahead of Aug. 1 change in law

WILLMAR - Area counties are prepared for the new marriage law that takes effect Aug. 1.

Counties had to revise the marriage license applications to remove words like "bride" and "groom" and replace them with generic terms to recognize that same-sex couples may now marry in a civil ceremony. Most forms now use "applicant 1" and "applicant 2."

The new forms will be used for all marriage license applications.

Because same-sex marriages will become legal on Thursday, counties had license applications available ahead of time to allow for the mandatory five-day waiting period.

Kandiyohi County, which offers the forms online, had to wait for the software vendor to do the final check last week. The new applications were available on Friday, either electronically or in hard copy form at the counter at the recorder's office in the county's downtown Willmar office building.

Renville County has had paper copies of the revised forms available in the recorder's office since July 1.

"I jumped on it right away. I wanted to be ready," said Gail Miller, Renville County Recorder.

"Granted, they (same-sex couples) can't get married until Aug. 1, but I wanted to be ready."

Until Aug. 1, Renville County will have both the old and new versions of the application forms available. After that date, only the new forms will be used, either online or in paper form at the county office.

"We are ready to help people with their marriage license needs," said Miller.

Swift and Meeker counties only have paper marriage license forms. Not having to deal with a software vendor made it easier to make the changes and make the forms available, said Swift County Treasurer Ron Vadnais.

"We have it ready to go," he said.

In Meeker County the new forms have been ready since July 15.

So far there have been no applications made for a same-sex marriage license in those four counties.

Debra Mueske, the court administrator for Kandiyohi, Meeker and Swift counties who also performs civil marriage ceremonies, said she has not had any requests for a same-sex wedding.

Performing civil marriage ceremonies "is a function that most court administrators do. There would be no differences for same-sex civil weddings," she said.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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