Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Licensed to Wed

Civil War Monument
Courthouse Square, Scranton

After David's first modified radiation treatment this morning, we took care of the most important errand of the day: getting our marriage license. (Or licence, if I were still in BC.)

We parked at Courthouse Square, which was buzzing with lunchtime activity. Inside, after a security check, we found the Marriage Licensing office on the third floor amidst what appeared to be ongoing renovation -- cables were hanging out of the ceiling.

All our paperwork was in order, but it took the clerk twice as long to enter my information versus David's... I had to spell everything out:

Birthplace: Zamboanga del Sur, Philippines

She couldn't get that to fit in one field. The other fields, which included my parents' birthplaces and occupations, were equally long and had to be spelled out.

Then there was the section on previous marriages, which gave pause. Click, click, click.

But the one question the clerk asked that really stopped the show was:

"Are you related in any way?"

We had to laugh! She looked a bit sheepish asking us after entering in data from the Philippines and Canada, but we knew she was required by law to ask the question.

"What's the restriction for relation, anyway?" I asked.

"You can't marry your first cousin, but second cousin is OK," she responded. "It's different in every state. In New York, for example, you can marry your first cousin."

We were incredulous. "Really!"

"Oh yes, there are all sorts of combinations... they should really use a family tree to make it easier to show instead of having to read it all out."

David and I were discussing this prospect when I turned to the clerk and asked her if close relatives actually come in to try to get a marriage license.

"Oh yes," she said earnestly. "All the time!"

*cue music from Deliverance*