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How To Marry in D.C.

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Gay couple prepare to marry in Washington DC © VisionsofAmerica/Joe Sohm/Getty
Effective March 3, 2010, same-sex couples may apply for marriage licenses in the District of Columbia. Are you and your partner ready to get married? If so, here's what you need to know before getting married in Washington D.C.:
Time Required: Varies

Here's How:

  1. Age Requirement
    The minimum age for marriage in the District of Columbia is 18 years or 16 years with the consent of a parent or guardian. Applicants should bring driver's licenses, birth certificates, passports, or similar official document to show proof of age.
  2. Cost
    The Marriage License Application fee is $35.00. However, the fee is waived if a Domestic Partnership Certificate is presented at the time of application. The marriage certificate fee is $10.00. The Marriage Bureau only accepts cash or money orders (made out to Clerk, D.C. Superior Court).
  3. Previous Marriages
    Divorce happens. So does finding love again. If either of you have been previously married, be prepared to show your divorce papers. You'll need to provide the city, state, country of each previous marriage and the ending status, such as, by divorce or death. Home and work telephone numbers for both you and your ex(s) are also requested.
  4. Waiting Period
    Three full days must pass between the day of application to the day that the license can be issued.
  5. Blood And Other Tests
    As of September 11, 2008, a blood test is no longer a requirement to obtain a marriage license in the District of Columbia.
  6. Marriage License
    The Marriage License Application must include social security numbers, addresses, dates of birth for both parties as well as previous marriage information (see above). Also, in order to pick up your license, you must show your receipt for payment. Unfortunately licenses in the District are not issued by mail, so you have to pick it up in person.
  7. Wedding Officiator
    Even after you apply, your marriage isn't valid unless an ordained and licensed clergymen or justices of the peace officiates over your ceremony. Your "endorser" must be from the same religious society and registered with the Marriage Bureau Section, Family Court.
  8. Ceremony
    You can request a Civil Wedding performed by a court official in a room that fits up to 15 people. All free of charge. Request it at the time of registration, specifying the date and time you would like to be married and at least 10 days from the date of application. A clerk will call you to confirm a date.
  9. Copies of Certificate
    You can request a copy of your marriage certificate on the same day as the ceremony for $10 (cash or money order) or by mail at:

    Moultrie Courthouse
    500 Indiana Ave., N.W. Washington, D.C. 20001

    Higher fees may apply for triple seal certificates used for adoption and foreign jurisdictions.
  10. Planning
    Plan your ceremony month-by-month with this same-sex wedding planner. On a budget? Learn how you and your fiance can save a few dollars and still have a beautiful ceremony.
  11. Ring Selection
    Kathy Belge over at About: Lesbian Life steps you through the process of buying a wedding ring, including deciding on a budget, style and jewelry store.

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