New York: With thousands of requests pouring in for the first day of same-sex marriages in New York City, the mayor`s office said today it would establish a lottery to select 764 couples.
The city`s decision comes ahead of the entry into force Sunday of New York state`s gay marriage law, which was passed June 24.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Council Speaker Christine Quinn and City Clerk Michael McSweeney said in a joint statement that the lottery would be implemented "due to high demand for marriage services on Sunday, July 24, 2011."
City officials have received 2,661 requests for marriage services on Sunday, including 1,728 from same-sex couples.
The lottery opened for entries at noon today and was to close to entries at noon Thursday, with a separate drawing for each of the city`s five boroughs. Winners will be notified on Friday.
"The lottery will guarantee access to one of the City Clerk`s five offices for 764 couples -- opposite sex or same sex -- on July 24," the statement said, noting that the number of weddings that day could be four times the previous city record.
"We are going to make history on Sunday, with the eyes of the nation once again turning to New York City," said Bloomberg.
"We`ve done our homework, and it`s clear that the number of couples who want to marry on Sunday is more than the City Clerk`s offices could possibly handle," the mayor said.