Same-sex couples can apply for a marriage license in Allegheny County

Less than an hour after a federal judge ruled that Pennsylvania's ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional, couples could begin applying online for marriage licenses in Allegheny County.

"We are pleased that the court is affirming the rights of all people to form a marriage union to express their commitments, form a family in the eyes of the law, and have their rights recognized," county Executive Rich Fitzgerald said. "This is what we have been advocating for quite some time and it is a day to celebrate."

County offices in Philadelphia stayed open late to handle marriage license applications. But in Allegheny County, it was not yet a day to rush to the chapel.

Most county offices were closed for Election Day, including the Marriage License Bureau. But same-sex couples were able to apply for a marriage license online through the county's website.

The current online process includes references to groom and bride, but same-sex couples should disregard those references, the county said. County spokeswoman Amie Downs said the bride and groom designation would be changed to "party 1" and "party 2" on the marriage license application.

Couples who complete the online process will receive a confirmation number via email.

Applicants must then appear together, in person and with photo identification, to complete the process. Unless a court waiver is granted, Pennsylvania has a three-day waiting period from when a couple complete the application process to when they are issued a marriage license.

According to the county website, people applying for licenses today will receive them on Monday.

The Marriage License Bureau is located on the first floor of the City-County Building, 414 Grant St., Downtown. Three months ago, the office was the scene of a Valentine's Day demonstration by same-sex couples attempting to apply for licenses. That attempt was unsuccessful, but applications today will be accepted. The office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Mayor Bill Peduto said Tuesday that he'd be happy to officiate at upcoming nuptials.

"I am overjoyed by the judge's decision today and can't wait to throw open the doors of the mayor's office to honor marriages of all couples," he said. "I would be thrilled to make the marriage of an LGBT couple the first one I officiate as mayor."

READ more about the ruling: “Same-sex marriage ban ruled unconstitutional in Pennsylvania”

Kaitlynn Riely: or 412-263-1707. The Associated Press contributed. First Published May 20, 2014 3:56 PM

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