Rules to Follow For Tying the Knot

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The procedures for gays and lesbians to marry or celebrate a civil union vary slightly in the different New England states offering those options. In Massachusetts, the rules are for marriages; in the other states, they're for civil unions.

* Massachusetts. Both parties must appear at a town hall of any city in the commonwealth and fill out a form. The fee ranges from $4 to $50, depending on the location. Proof of age (such a birth certificate) and residency is required. The license can be obtained after a three-day waiting period. Within 60 days of getting the license, the couple must have a ceremony with a registered official. Following recent court rulings, marriages here are sanctioned only for residents of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Mexico. All other out-of-state couples can marry only if they declare an intention to relocate to Massachusetts.

Info: Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), For planning services, check out

* Connecticut. Out-of-state couples must complete an application ($30) at the town hall in the town where they plan to celebrate the union. A justice of the peace, clergy member or other official must legalize the union within 65 days after the license is obtained.

Info: Connecticut Department of Health, 860-509-8000 For planning services, check out

* Vermont. Application must be made at a town hall anywhere in the state; at least one of the parties must be present. Out-of-staters are eligible. The fee is $23. A ceremony, performed by an authorized official, must take place within 60 days of obtaining the license.

Info: Vermont Department of Public Health, 802-863-7275, For accommodations and other info (including planning services), check out, a site promoting gay travel to the state.

* New Hampshire. Gay civil unions will become possible on Jan. 1. Although the statute has not been published, state officials say the procedures will follow roughly the same guidelines as those in Vermont. Both parties must appear before a clerk at any town hall in the state and complete a form; the license is then valid for 90 days. A ceremony must be performed by a justice of the peace or other licensed individual.

Info: New Hampshire Freedom to Marry Coalition, 603-223-0309, For planning services,

-- G.L.

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