Brooklyn Boro

New state law lets pols perform weddings

December 28, 2018 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Thanks to new legislation signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, members of the New York State Legislature are now able to officiate at weddings. AP Photo by Manuel Balce Ceneta

Your local lawmaker can now double as a justice of the peace, thanks to a new law recently signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo that allows members of the New York State Legislature to officiate at weddings.

That means members of the Senate and Assembly can lead you and your betrothed in reciting your romantic “I do’s.”

It could be a boon to couples who have a passion for politics as well as a passion for each other.

Brooklyn lawmakers are taking their newfound status in stride.

Assemblymember Mathylde Frontus (D-Coney Island-Dyker Heights-Bay Ridge) posted a link to an Albany Times Union article about the new marriage law on her Facebook page, along with a tongue-in-cheek message informing her constituents of her availability.

“Happy to report that as a new assembly member of the state of New York, I can now, um, officiate weddings. Don’t all ask me at once, but I’m here if you need me,” Frontus wrote.

State Sen.-elect Andrew Gounardes (D-Bay Ridge-Southwest Brooklyn) also displayed a sense of humor about the whole thing.

“I didn’t campaign on a promise of marital bliss but hey, if I can help, why not?” he wrote on Twitter.

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The bill paving the way for politicians like Frontus and Gounardes to serve as justices of the peace was originally proposed by Assemblymember Sandy Galef (D-Westchester) and won the approval of both the Assembly and state Senate this year, the Times Union reported.

Cuomo, who signed the bill a few weeks ago, already enjoyed the privilege of being able to legally perform marriages — even before the passage of the bill. His gubernatorial predecessors have had the ability to officiate at weddings since 2015.

Aside from members of the clergy, who else can legally perform weddings in New York?

According to the website of the state’s Department of Health (DOH), the privilege extends to mayors of cities, former mayors and city clerks. Deputy city clerks in municipalities with populations of more than 1 million can also perform weddings.

Marriages in New York state can be performed by a justice or judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Southern, Eastern or Western Districts of New York, the New York State Court of Appeals, the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court, the New York State Supreme Court, the Court of Claims, Family Court, Surrogates Court and Civil and Criminal Courts in New York City, according to DOH.

But bear in mind that your friendly local elected official can’t perform marriages as a side gig.

The new law on marriage ceremonies prohibits state lawmakers from making money at it.

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