New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced over the weekend that a new executive order allowing New York citizens to circumvent social distancing and wed their sweethearts via video call. It’s not much, but at least it’s something pleasant to do while things are looking grim and we’re all having to stay home.
NEW: I am issuing an Executive Order allowing New Yorkers to obtain a marriage license remotely and allowing clerks to perform ceremonies via video conference.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) April 18, 2020
Cuomo confirmed via Twitter that the affianced will be able to obtain licenses and have a clerk perform the ceremony. CBS New York reports that this order suspends a legal requirement for those wishing to obtain licenses to make an in-person office visit, and confirmed that many marriage bureaus are closed thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While I’m not a New Yorker, I appreciate Governor Cuomo’s efforts to give everyone happiness at a time like this. Weddings, being primarily social events, were basically item one on the list of things that can’t happen right now because of the COVID-19 epidemic. And that sucks — weddings are fun. Many people have found ways around this by throwing together social-distance-appropriate weddings with Amazon-obtained paraphernalia, and streaming the ceremonies to their friends and family. Necessity is the mother of invention, but it’s nice to hear Cuomo’s making it easier for everyone.
According to The Verge, Cuomo namedropped Zoom specifically when speaking about this new rule: “There is now no excuse when the question comes up for marriage… You can do it by Zoom. Yes or no.” That’s kind of a dark way to put it. Considering how the incidence of domestic violence has gone up ever since the coronavirus obliged everyone to stay home with their families all the time, I’d rather not think of it in terms of “Well now you absolutely cannot avoid it.”
Despite his recommendation, I’m not sure I’d want to get married via Zoom. Given the platform’s many, many issues and the fact that “Zoombombing” was a thing, I’m not sure this is the service I’d trust to mark one of the most solemn and important moments of my life. Still, while it’s not the same as the big, splashy ceremony, I’d be happy to wed my better half over Skype if the alternative meant waiting until this global nightmare is over.