The expected rush did not come to the Montgomery County Marriage License office in Rockville.
Dec. 6 was the first day same sex couples could apply for a marriage license in Maryland and Loretta Knight, clerk of the Montgomery County Circuit Court in Rockville, said that in the three days her office has been open since then, only a dozen same sex couples have applied.
“There’s not a big rush,” Knight said.
Six couples applied Thursday, four on Friday and two Monday before 3 p.m.
Knight said she expected the first day to be busy.
“We got about 20 calls asking would we be taking marriage applications for same sex marriage, so I was expecting at least 10 of them to come in, “ Knight said.
Knight said one woman was at the office when they opened at 8:30 a.m. the first day it was legal to apply.
“She was very excited,” Knight said.
Vanessa Bowling, office manager for Equality Maryland, said she thinks the low number of applicants is because it is too early. Jan. 1, 2013,seems a long way off, she said.
“I think it is because it is such a long wait.” Bowling said. “This is just my opinion but I think there will be a rush before the holidays. I know a lot of people are planning to be married Jan.1.”
Same sex couples can get their license, but have to wait until the new Maryland law becomes effective Jan. 1 to get married. Those planning to be married at the courthouse must make an appointment. Knight said she does have same sex weddings scheduled for the courthouse, but not on Jan. 1 because the courthouse will not be open that day.
The change in the marriage law required a number of computer changes, Knight said.
“We had to do a lot of computer updates. It prints out your marriage certificate when it prints out your license, so we had to fix it so it read Jan. 1, 2013, on the ones for the same sex marriage,” she said. “As of now we have the same application, same process and same ceremony.”
What has changed from before, she explained, is that the application is no longer gender specific. It reads “Party One” and “Party Two” instead of man or woman. In weddings performed at the courthouse, the wording used during the ceremony is no longer “husband” and “wife,” it is “spouse.”
Marriage licenses for weddings to take place in Montgomery County have to come from the county. Applications are accepted at the Montgomery County Circuit Court, 50 Maryland Ave., Rockville.
The office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. but marriage license applications are not taken after 4 p.m., Knight said, so they have time to process them.
The fee is $55. For more information call 240-777-9460.