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August 4, 2009

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That Didn’t Really Go As Planned.

First of all, there a lot of really uneducated government employees out there and the NYC marriage bureau office is full of the finest of idiots.

We were met with blank stares from the get-go (all caught on camera!) and it really only got worse from there.

They had to call for ‘back up’ , a woman who proceeded to tell us that health insurance benefits were only available for same sex marriages of government employees. Interesting enough but we are not trying to get health insurance benefits. She was completely confused with what we wanted to do and kept telling us this was the law and she would print out the law for us to see (she never did, because she totally had her information confused).

It seemed simple enough: if NY state honors out-of-state gay marriages–then what is the procedure for them to honor it?
Surely there is a procedure, right? A piece of paper? A legal document?

However we were told time and time again,
“You don’t need to do anything.”
“Why not?”
“Because it’s not necessary.”
“How can it not be necessary? You are supposed to recognize this marriage.”
“But you don’t need to do anything.”

HUH??!!

Stumped, they finally decided to ‘do us a favor’ and we could see the staff attorney. Who was out to lunch, of course. And with rolling eyes, the ever-so-unhelpful attendant told us no, she did not know when he left and no, she did not know when he would be back and no, she did not know how long he took lunch.
Perhaps she could find someone who had more information?
No.
She was lovely, did I mention that? Bitch.

When “Patrick” the condescending staff attorney finally came back (over an hour later) from his leisurely lunch (our tax dollars hard at work), he did his best to make us feel like complete idiots for even asking these questions and wasting his time.
This of course brought out the pit bull in Chicken who attacked right back and it all got off to a rather unpleasant start.
After I gave her a swift kick under the table, things softened up a bit and we were able to have a civil conversation.

And here’s how it goes folks: If you have been married in a state that recognizes gay marriage and you want to have it recognized in NY–there’s nothing you can do. Seriously, that is the procedure. You simply carry around your marriage license from State X and wave it around to people it times of need claiming that you are legally married and if they don’t respect that, then you threaten to sue said party.
I’m serious. THIS was his advice: “Tell people you will sue them if they don’t honor your out-of-state marriage certificate.”
That seems effective.

Oh and about our legal name change? His assvice was to head up to Connecticut, get married again and write in our new last names on that marriage certificate.
Except….will the NY State DMV honor this name change on the CT marriage license and give us new driver’s license’s thus setting the ball rolling to get all other forms of new ID? Because you know how smart all the people working at the DMV are….
That sounds like another battle.

And here’s where it gets really interesting. When I got home, I decided to do a little research on getting married in CT since Chicken is home now and we thought no better time than the present–let’s get things done!
But wait…you can’t legally get married in two different states! Even gays can’t do that! And since we are legally married in the state of California, then our marriage in CT would be invalid!

Which means: the staff attorney of the NYC Marriage Bureau–the one who should know MARRIAGE LAWS better than anyone else in the NYC Marriage Bureau–gave us completely inaccurate information. Information that would of had us performing an ILLEGAL act.

The whole afternoon was filmed, with the exception of the lawyer’s office where our camera man was denied entry. It should be put up as a PSA on the website when he’s done editing, so I’ll let you know when that hits.
I hope that this saves other people the frustration of what we had to go through and wasting an entire afternoon.

All was not lost….we were on the edge of Chinatown, so we walked up and feasted on Vietnamese food afterwards. At least we ended on a high note!