City prepares for rush of same-sex nuptials

City officials have upped the number of appointments for marriage licenses and City Hall ceremonies — and plan to bring in more than 100 volunteers — to meet the demand when same-sex marriages become legal next week.

The County Clerk’s Office typically holds 48 appointments for couples to obtain a marriage license and can perform 24 to 25 ceremonies per day, according to officials there.

Starting at 8 a.m. Tuesday, the office will have the capacity to issue 250 marriage licenses and perform 500 ceremonies, with the help of volunteers and city employees being deputized to marry couples, according to the Mayor’s Office.

There are at least 137 same-sex couples with appointments for marriage licenses scheduled for Tuesday and 80 couples that have requested a City Hall ceremony for that same day. Altogether, there are 197 license appointments and 220 ceremonies scheduled for the week, according to the Mayor’s Office.

The crew will work until 9 p.m. Tuesday, and “for as long as it takes until the demand is not there,” Mayor Gavin Newsom said Wednesday.

“We expect tens of thousands of people coming through San Francisco City Hall next week,” Newsom said.

The Rev. Greg Stewart of the First Unitarian Universalist Church on Franklin Street said he had received calls from gay couples in other states asking to have a wedding ceremony in San Francisco.

The hubbub began May 15, when the California Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples had a constitutional right to marry in California. The court’s decision becomes final at 5 p.m. Monday.

The crush of weddings expected statewide in the coming weeks should also help the case for same-sex marriage come November, when voters will decide whether to amend the state constitution to ban gay marriage, Newsom said.

Voters will realize that they “haven’t been impacted at all,” Newsom said.

dsmith@sfexaminer.com

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