Same-sex couples planning August weddings in southern Minnesota can fill out their license applications in Blue Earth and Nicollet counties starting Thursday.

 Both counties' form revisions have lines to be filled out by Applicant 1 and Applicant 2 instead of the bride and the groom, and there's no reference

to gender.

"We have a form, although it may not be perfect," said Nicollet County Recorder Kathy Conlon.

Conlon's office has fielded several inquiries about the marriage-license process since Gov. Mark Dayton signed into law a marriage-equality bill May 14.

All Minnesota couples must purchase licenses before they get married, so the procedures are already in place in Conlon's county. Both applicants should fill out the paperwork at the courthouse in St. Peter. There is an option for couples when only one person can make the required

appearance in Conlon's office, but the process will be delayed and a notary public will be required.

At this time, there is no online-application process available in Nicollet County.

Couples who plan to apply in Blue Earth County will find a form to print out on the county's website, which can be filled out and brought in to be

processed at the license center in Mankato.

"We are ready," said Patty O'Connor, director of Blue Earth County's Taxpayer Services. O'Connor oversees the county's marriage records office.

Although the office has not been swamped with questions from sex-same couples, there have been inquiries from potential applicants wanting to know how to fill out the appropriate form.

Blue Earth County¹s revised form is now on its website: www.blueearthcountymn.gov/index.aspx?NID=857.

The website also provides information for people preparing to apply for licenses. Each party should bring along identification and Social Security

numbers. If an applicant has been married previously, that person will need to provide information regarding the termination.

Licenses will be issued Aug. 1, the date the new law goes into effect. Minnesota will then recognize same-sex marriages that occured in other states.

The filing fee is $40 for couples that provide a premarital education certificate, which verifies they've received 12 hours of communication and

conflict resolution instruction. The cost is $115 if the couple does not have the certificate.

There is a five-day statutory waiting period from the date of application until the license is valid to use. It must be used within six months from

the issuance date. County recorders offices in Brown, Faribault, Le Sueur, Sibley, Waseca and Watonwan counties have not yet revised their forms. Most are waiting until after an annual meeting next week in Brainerd, where recorders will gather to discuss many vital-statistics topics, including changes on the marriage license forms.

"Ours is a work in progress, which will be fine-tuned after the meeting," Conlon said.

There is no standardized form for marriage licenses in the state; however, outstate county recorders work together to create some consistency.

"We are 87 counties trying to come to a consensus,"  O'Connor said.

 

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