For all Town Clerks who issue marriage licenses, please read carefully.
There were a number of calls yesterday to the Vermont Department of Health, Secretary of State's Office, and Legislative Council with questions regarding the issuance of a civil marriage license prior to September 1st. This announcement is to clarify the procedures and responsibilities for issuance of any marriage licenses between now and September 1st. Please share this information with your staff responsible for issuing marriage licenses.
FOR MARRIAGES THAT WILL OCCUR PRIOR TO SEPTEMBER 1st
1) For opposite sex couples who plan to marry before September 1st, provide the current Application for Vermont License of Marriage.
2) Upon receipt of the completed application, the Vermont License and Certificate of Marriage (DH-PHS-OCT-99) must be completed to show that the license is valid only until August 31st, 2009. This can be done by completing item 16d. in the Certification section to read as: "This license is valid from [current date] to August 31, 2009. "
3) Note: same sex couples cannot be issued a marriage license for a marriage that will occur prior to September 1st, 2009.
FOR MARRIAGES THAT WILL
OCCUR ON or AFTER SEPTEMBER
All Vermont marriages that occur on or after September 1st, 2009 fall under the new civil marriage law which pertains to same sex and opposite sex couples as many of the existing marriage statutes were amended, some were repealed, and new forms (a civil marriage application and a civil marriage license) were created.
We have consulted with the Attorney General's Office and have revised guidance for processing the civil marriage applications and issuing the civil marriage licenses to all couples.
1) Any applicants planning to marry on or after September 1st, 2009 may obtain an Application for Vermont License of Civil Marriage (DH-PHS-MARAPP-2009) during your normal business hours.
2) For both same-sex and opposite-sex applicants, a Vermont License and Certificate of Civil Marriage (DH-PHS-MARLIC-2009) can be issued after the applicants have completed the application form. Even though the civil marriage law does not go into effect until September 1st, 2009, the license can be issued and signed prior to September 1st. (But, the license will not be valid until September 1st. See item #3)
3) The civil marriage license must be completed to show that the license is valid starting September 1st. This can be done by completing Box #17d in the Certification section, to read as, "This license is valid from September 1, 2009 to _______." (NOTE: The last day for validity would be calculated based on 60 days from issuance of the license.)
Signature and date by the town clerk of the license prior to September 1st, 2009, is not a legal concern since the license would state that it is only valid starting September 1st. However, please be sure that you have written in the September 1, 2009 date.
If you have additional questions, please contact Linda Merchant, Supervisor of Vital Records Registration, at 863-7275 or 1-800-439-5008 and we'll continue to obtain new guidance from the AG's Office, as needed.
Richard H. McCoy
Public Health Statistics Chief
Vermont Department of Health
108 Cherry St., PO Box 70
Burlington, VT 05402-0070
Phone: (802) 651-1862
Fax: (802) 865-7701