Poconos Coal

County officials struggling with forms for same sex marriage

County officials struggling with forms for same sex marriage

At Northampton County's marriage license bureau things have been a little busier than usual.

"We have had about 5 same sex licenses but 10 total," said Northampton County Register of Wills and Clerk of Orphan's Court Gina Gibbs.

A day after Pennsylvania's same sex marriage ban was thrown out by the courts, same sex couples are taking advantage of marriage equality.

Philadelphia offices were open late. Pittsburgh started taking applications on line.

But in counties like Monroe, Lehigh and Carbon, the process began the morning after.

Counties had to figure out how to deal with one very obvious problem.

"The biggest problem is the problem with the applications," said Carbon County Register of Wills and Clerk of Orphan's Court Judy Moon says the current applications have male and female written on them.

So at first, same sex couples were greeted by a sign saying to check back because the marriage bureau didn't have the necessary forms.

But after a while the signs came down and Carbon County started doing what almost all of the other counties were doing.

"We are whiting out the information, the male and female part and we are typing the information with the names," said Gibbs.

Ironically though, Montgomery County, which handed out 174 same sex marriage licenses last year before it was stopped by the courts, isn't handing them out now.

"Part of the legal issues stopped our register of wills from issuing these same sex marriages and that has not been lifted yet," said Montgomery County Commissioner Leslie Richards.

Montgomery County officials say it should be a few days before that happens.

And while county clerks were deciding between whiting, typing or writing, the couples say the debate was worth the wait.

"We just walked in we were very kindly greeted and filled out the paperwork and done," said Jennifer Rousseau Latorre.

County officials say they expect to get gender neutral forms from the health department now that Pennsylvania is a marriage equality state.

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