Following the action of
the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals dissolving its stay on U.S. District Court
Judge Walker’s injunction against enforcement of Proposition 8, the County of
Santa Clara is now prepared to issue licenses for same sex marriages.
When the County received news of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals action late
this afternoon, County Clerk-Recorder Gina Alcomendras indicated that the
Clerk-Recorder’s Office would adapt its operation to meet any demand. If
couples were to be in line to apply for licenses before the normal closing time
of 4:30 p.m., the Office would remain open to serve them as needed.
“We are ready to meet the
needs of the community,” said Alcomendras. “News of the decision came
late today, so we expect greater demand next week. We have set up a
special line for marriage licenses that will bypass our normal queuing system.”
“The chapel doors are wide
open for same-sex couples in Santa Clara County,” said President Ken Yeager,
County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors, who officiated the weddings of the
first gay and first lesbian couple on June 17, 2008. “We are ready to
meet the pent-up demand.”
In addition to the special
line for marriage license applicants, the Clerk-Recorder’s office has taken a
number of steps to prepare for increased demand. Each of the 27 service
windows are also able to process marriage license applications, and a majority
of Clerk-Recorder employees have been deputized to perform marriages. If
demand is extremely high, community volunteers who have been deputized by the
County to perform marriage ceremonies may also be brought in to help. Marriage license applications still use the
gender-neutral language of “first person” and “second person” instead of
“bride” and “groom,” so forms will not need to be altered.
The County is offering a new Express Marriage Ceremony Service beginning July 1, 2013,
where walk-in couples can purchase a marriage license and have their ceremony performed
at the service window for an additional fee of $120.
ABOUT THE PROCESS
Couples can apply for marriage licenses at
the Clerk-Recorder’s Office - 70 W. Hedding St., 1st floor. (Free one hour
parking in the West Wing parking lot at the corner of Hedding and San Pedro
The County of Santa Clara Clerk-Recorder's
Office currently performs civil marriage ceremonies officiated by deputy
marriage commissioners appointed by the Clerk-Recorder.
The fee for the ceremony is $80 and must be
paid in person.
Marriage licenses can be issued the same
day as the ceremony.
A standard Marriage License is $80;
Confidential Marriage License is $83.
Chapel Ceremonies can be scheduled Tuesday - Friday from 10:40 a.m. to 3:40 p.m.
· Additionally, walk-in couples who do not want to
wait for an appointment will be accommodated through the new Express Marriage
Ceremony Service. After
purchasing the marriage license, they may have their ceremony performed at the
service window for an additional fee of $120. Express Marriage ceremonies can be performed weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The County has one wedding chapel for
marriages. The Wedding Chapel holds 22 people and is
located on the Lower Level, 70 W. Hedding St., both elevator and stair access
To schedule an appointment to be trained as
a volunteer Deputy Marriage Commissioner to perform civil marriage ceremonies onsite, call (408)
In 2012, the
Clerk-Recorder’s Office issued 9,401 marriage licenses and officiated 3,048
marriage ceremonies. In 2008, the office issued 4,633 marriage licenses and
officiated 1,470 ceremonies.
Five years ago, the
California Supreme Court’s decision briefly made same-sex marriage legal in
California. June 17, 2008, was the first day that those unions were
recognized. More than 70 volunteers called and offered to serve as Deputy
Marriage Commissioners. Dozens of couples married in the County Government
Center that day—in the chapel, in conference rooms, in the courtyard, and in
the office of President Yeager. As a Deputy Marriage Commissioner, he had
the honor of marrying the first gay and first lesbian couple that
morning. Supervisor Yeager performed 10 weddings on June 17, 2008, and
nearly 50 by the end of the summer.