By: Faith Jessie, Steve Wolford
LAS VEGAS (KSNV) — On Monday, Clark County’s Marriage License Bureau in Downtown Las Vegas reopened for business.
The Marriage License Bureau closed down in March to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
During the closure, a wedding chapel company and a couple filed a joint lawsuit against Clark County and the State of Nevada alleging the move was unconstitutional.
The couple was facing a visa issue, that would be resolved by marriage, but with the office closed, they didn’t have a way to get their license.
In a statement, the county said the reopening “Is expected to aid in the resolution of a recent lawsuit.”
The bureau is now open with the following safety protocols in place.
- Couples will have to complete their license application online before arriving at the courthouse.
- There will be limits on the number of people in the office at one time, and people will have to wear a mask or face covering to enter.
- Temperatures will be taken and nobody with a fever will be allowed in.
- Only credit card payments will be accepted, no cash
While it could take months, or years to fully restore the wedding-related tourism, locals like Trenton Friend, who serves in the Air Force at Nellis, was happy Monday to wait in a short line with his fiancé, Monse Rodriguez. “I’d say about a month,” said Trenton, “a month we’ve been trying to get married. We even looked up New York and Zoom weddings,” he said. “Hopefully it goes well,” Monse said. “We can get it done today. Hopefully, I’ll be a military spouse after this.”
Charlotte Richards, who has owned the Little White Chapel for 60-years, says the local chapels took a big hit when businesses were forced to close. “A lot of people had wanted to get married before. They had reservations. They couldn’t come,” she said.
But with licenses being issued again, she immediately opened her drive-thru wedding window and said the other chapel operators were preparing their businesses to reopen. “There are new rules now,” said Charlotte. “They have to wear a mask on their face and they have to have all of these things to do,” but added, “I’ll go through all of it to make anybody happy. It’s a lot of things to protect the person, and also to protect us, and I’m happy to do that.”
News 3 spoke with the Clark County Clerk who says the closure was necessary to keep the staff and those who need marriage licenses safe.
“We were still getting a couple of hundred couples per day at the marriage license bureau, some traveling from out of state and out of the country. It wasn’t safe for the couples or the staff,” said Clark County Clerk, Lynn Marie Goya. “We just got all of the PPE (personal protective equipment) we needed this morning including N-95 masks, and we got some of the other supplies last week.
The office will be open from 8 a.m. – midnight every day, including weekends and holidays, which are the license bureau’s normal hours.
Other marriage offices in Clark County, like those in Henderson and Laughlin, will remain closed.