D.C. court expands marriage bureau to handle increased demand after same-sex ruling

The D.C. Superior Court is temporarily expanding its marriage license bureau as a result of increased demand in the District for licenses and weddings following a recent same-sex marriage ruling by the Supreme Court.

The expansion, court officials said Friday, is needed because of a flurry of applications following the June Supreme Court case, United States v. Windsor, in which the court struck down a law that denied federal benefits to legally married gay couples.

The court doesn’t provide a breakdown of which of those applying to tie the knot are same-sex couples. But court officials said that they began to see a stark increase in total marriage license applications less than a month after the ruling.

Previously, the court received between 300 and 400 license applications a month, officials said. In July and August, the number more than doubled to 977 and 908, respectively.

To handle the increase, the court has temporarily transferred employees from other parts of the courthouse into the marriage bureau. The court has also added a second ceremony room to perform weddings. That second ceremony room will open Monday.

“The last two months we have seen a doubling in the usual number of marriage license applications, with more than 100 customers served each day. When we realized that our current staffing and space did not accommodate the recent demand for our services, we added staff and converted space to meet the need,” said Duane Delaney, clerk of the Superior Court. Leah Gurowitz, a spokeswoman for the courthouse, said the court was also looking for additional office space to process the increased applications. The boost marks the greatest demand for licenses and applications since 2010, when same-sex marriages became legal in the District.

Keith Alexander covers crime, specifically D.C. Superior Court cases for The Washington Post. He has covered dozens of crime stories from Banita Jacks, the Washington woman charged with killing her four daughters, to the murder trial of intern Chandra Levy.
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