Gay marriage hasn't brought a windfall of cash to York County coffers in the month since the state's same-sex marriage was overturned, despite a $50 per-couple fee charged for marriage licenses.

The total number of marriage licenses issued year-to-date in York is slightly lower than last year's number and is about on par with the previous 13 years.

York County Register of Wills Brad Jacobs said six same-sex couples applied for licenses on May 21, the day after the ban was overturned, but his office hasn't tracked licenses by sex since those first noteworthy cases. Sex is not listed on the license application form; applicants fill in blocks under "Applicant 1" and "Applicant 2."

While the names are recorded, numerous given names are gender-neutral.

So it's not clear how many gay York couples have decided to tie the knot or how much they paid the county in fees, but Jacobs said his office has seen no influx.

The numbers: York County has issued 1,058 marriage licenses year-to-date through June 18. That's slightly more than six per day for an average of 187 per month.

Last year's average was 191 per month, and averages over the past 13 years have ranged from 181 to 201.

Jacobs said May and June are typically the busiest months for marriage licenses, but with only 10 days left in the month, it doesn't appear he'll be running out of heavy-stock paper.

He's not sure why more same-sex couples aren't applying in York, he said.


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"They can go to any county to get their licenses," he said. "I don't think you can put a particular reason to the numbers not increasing."

President York County Commissioner Steve Chronister has a theory; Maybe they just don't exist.

"I think just the nature of York County is pretty conservative, with religion, sexual orientation and politics," he said.

But he said he's not disappointed the federal judge's ruling apparently isn't bringing in a lot of instant new money.

"I really never looked at it that way, from the financial end," he said. "I just think everybody should be happy. That's fine. That's what it's all about."

Economic generator: Happiness is the big takeaway for Ted Martin, executive director of gay rights advocate Equality Pennsylvania, but he said gay marriage is also an economic generator.

He said numbers could be lagging because there was an initial rush after federal judge John E. Jones III issued his ruling; people were afraid Gov. Tom Corbett would appeal the decision and they rushed to apply, but the rush stopped when Corbett said he wouldn't appeal the decision. Corbett's announcement gave gay couples the security they needed to plan the wedding they want instead of rushing to secure legality, Martin said.

"People are taking their time and thinking about it, and isn't that what we want anybody who's getting married to do?" he said.

Jacobs said York County marriage licenses are valid for 60 days anywhere in Pennsylvania.

And Martin said the state will continue to see economic benefits as people plan and execute their weddings, with expenses ranging from rental of celebration halls to clothing, flowers, and rings, he said.

There are also benefits beyond 'I do,' because the ability to marry is attractive to gay professionals who might otherwise avoid Pennsylvania, he said.

"When head hunters call me and they have gay clients ... now I can at least say, 'Yes, your marriage will be protected.'"

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates 270,000 gay people live in Pennsylvania, but there are no estimates by county.

Martin said he's optimistic that more accurate and geographically specific data will be collected because marriage is legal.

— Reach Christina Kauffman at ckauffman@yorkdispatch.com.

Health insurance coverage

After a May 20 federal court ruling that found the state's gay marriage ban unconstitutional, York County's Human Resources department changed its health insurance plans to make legally married same-gender spouses eligible for health insurance coverage.

County spokesman Carl Lindquist said two employees — who were married in Pennsylvania or another state where same-sex marriage is legal — have enrolled their spouses in county plans.

The county has about 2,600 employees. Benefits vary by the union bargaining unit and by the employee's position.

Marriage license totals

Below are the marriage licenses issued in York County by year with the total number of licenses and the average per month.

2000: 2,366; 197

2001: 2,408; 201

2002: 2,352; 196

2003: 2,189; 182

2004: 2,350; 196

2005: 2,371; 198

2006: 2,401; 200

2007: 2,240; 187

2008: 2,352; 196

2009: 2,170; 181

2010: 2,185; 182

2011: 2,309; 192

2012: 2,201; 183

2013: 2,295; 191

2014 through June 18: 1,058; 187

— Source: York County Register of Wills