BETHLEHEM — Town Clerk Nanci Moquin issued the first marriage license in the Town Hall parking lot on Tuesday, April 28 since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
She said that the couple stayed in their car while she used a clipboard attached to a long stick in order to continue maintaining social distancing. “I attached the document to the clipboard and handed it off to them,” she said. “I watched them sign it, then I signed it and I gave it back to them.”
Moquin said she also used a mask and gloves at all times. “It makes me feel good that I can continue to help residents the best I can. If you’re smart and careful, you can continue with a certain amount of normalcy and make people feel a little better as these are not normal times,” she added. “That’s my goal.”
A marriage license costs $40 in the town of Bethlehem; its cost is determined by the state, according to Moquin. It is valid for 60 days and the couple must wait 24 hours before they can get married upon receiving the marriage license.
Before the pandemic, Moquin said couples could set up appointments and come into her office.
However, since COVID-19 spread, a couple would need to first mail all necessary documents — including a driver’s license and birth certificates — into a dropbox in the Town Hall’s parking lot, which can only be opened by town staff for security reasons. She preferred this method to emailing the documents because they contain sensitive information. Upon receiving the documents, Moquin can prepare the marriage license and the couple can visit the parking lot to sign and receive it.
“The couple thanked me a couple of times and we were happy we didn’t send the documents electronically,” Moquin said. “People can legally marry during the pandemic, like on Zoom or with a very small gathering that spaces people out. A couple normally could get married in the town court but not now. Once I give the marriage license to a couple, it’s up to them how and where they can get married.”
Besides handling marriage licenses, she said she is continuing her town clerk duties, including notarizing documents and handling licenses for dogs in town parks. “I’m here every day at least in the morning and life goes on,” she concluded. “This too shall pass.”
For more information, contact Moquin at [email protected] or at 518-439-4955 ext. 1183.