The Supreme Court ruling, allowing same sex marriages across the nation, is not even one week old. But there are already questions about how couples can put the wheels in motion to tie the knot.
In Belmont County, officials are ready and waiting to sell marriage licenses. The county courthouse is the place to start. In Belmont County’s case, the probate court is on the second floor. Currently, the forms still are printed with “husband and wife” and “Mr. and Mrs.” but the state’s software provider is revising the forms, making them gender neutral.
Belmont County court officials are just using White Out and going forward.
“Whether it’s a heterosexual couple or a same sex couple, it doesn’t make any difference, we will issue those certificates,” said Belmont County Probate Judge Mark Costine.
No blood test is required for the marriage license, just proof of Belmont County residency and $43 in cash.
The next step for couples to get someone to perform the ceremony. In Ohio, possibilities include probate judges, ship captains, county court judges, mayors and ministers.
Just down the street from the county courthouse, Judge Eric Costine has already agreed to tie the knot for a same sex couple in the near future at the Western Division Court.
In his two years on the bench, he has performed 250 weddings. Judge Eric Costine said he has never said no, and he’s not about to start now. “I needed to make that decision, and my decision is that I am going to perform those kinds of ceremonies,” Costine said.
He does the ceremony in the courtroom, with court staff stepping in as the two witnesses, if necessary. And every couple will get a picture of their special moment.
“There’s happiness involved in it. It seems like a judge, so frequently we’re involved with so many painful things. Certainly the weddings are a break from that,” Judge Eric Costine said.
The couple has to have their license and they have to call the Western Division Court Clerk to set the date and time.