Social Security Reverses Marriage Docs Ban

The Social Security Administration (search) reversed course Monday and said it will accept marriage licenses issued for heterosexual couples in communities in New York and Oregon that briefly performed weddings for gay couples earlier this year.

Effective immediately, the agency will accept legally issued marriage documents from Multnomah County, Ore., and New Paltz, N.Y., as evidence of identification on applications for new Social Security cards or to prove marriage for benefits purposes.

The change applies only to marriages between a man and a woman.

The agency initially rejected all marriage certificates issued during the brief periods when officials in Multnomah County, New Paltz, Asbury Park, N.J., and Sandoval County, N.M., wedded same-sex couples.

The status of the other two municipalities remains unchanged unless legal issues are resolved, according to John Shallman, the agency's New York regional communications director.

In New Paltz, the local Social Security office would not issue marriage documents after Feb. 27, the day village Mayor Jason West (search) performed the first of a series of gay weddings (search). About 125 heterosexual couples have been married since then.