New Yorkers can now legally get married via Zoom


Coronavirus is moving weddings online.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) issued an executive order Saturday allowing New Yorkers to obtain a marriage license remotely and permitting clerks to perform ceremonies via video conference, a practice that is usually banned under existing laws.

“There is now no excuse when the question comes up for marriage,” Cuomo joked during his Saturday press briefing. “You can do it by Zoom. Yes or no.”

“The Executive Order will temporarily suspend a provision of law that requires in-person visits,” said a press release from the governor’s office.

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Many marriage bureaus have temporarily closed as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. In New York, the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, stay-at-home measures have been extended until at least May 15, and it could be many months before social distancing measures are lifted to allow gatherings for events such as weddings.

So-called Zoom weddings are already taking off around the world as friends and families dial in via video conferencing tools to watch couples tie the knot, but typically these ceremonies are not legally binding. Some couples either obtain marriage licenses beforehand or put the official ceremony on hold until after the pandemic. Cuomo’s executive order allows couples in the Empire State to get hitched ― officially ― while keeping their social distance.

Similar measures have been introduced elsewhere. In Colorado, couples are now allowed to apply online for marriage licenses. And in Ohio’s Cuyahoga County, couples with special circumstances (such as suffering from serious illness, health insurance issues or if working in health care), can obtain their marriage license via video call.

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