Reduced-fee weddings for military considered

The Sussex County Council introduced an ordinance this week that could give active military personnel a break on fees for marriages and civil unions in the county.

Sussex County Clerk of the Peace George Parish said that both New Castle and Kent counties give out-of-state active military personnel the same rate as Delaware residents for marriage and civil union ceremonies, and he asked that the council consider doing the same.

The change would save military families half the full cost of a wedding performed by the Clerk of the Peace, since a wedding for an out-of-state couple costs double what it does for an in-state couple. The proposed ordinance amendment would allow active military personnel to enjoy the Delaware resident rate, regardless of where they live.

“This approach will provide an opportunity for the Sussex County Council to express its gratitude for our active military personnel,” wrote Parish in his letter to council. He reiterated that point at their meeting on Oct. 16.

“Why not go a step further and waive the fees?” asked Councilman Sam Wilson.

The council discussed that idea a bit further and decided that they would introduce the ordinance with the in-state fee of $50 for on-site wedding ceremonies and then perhaps consider changing to no charge during the public hearing process.

The council on Oct. 16 also proclaimed Thursday, Oct. 18, as National Conflict Resolution Day and approved a lease addendum between Sussex County Emergency Medical Services and the Mid-Sussex Rescue Squad for an additional six months on their leased building in the Long Neck area. Robert Stuart, director of Sussex County EMS, said construction has been delayed on their new station and that they do not expect that to be completed until April 30, so they needed to extend their current lease.

In other news from the Oct. 16 meeting, the council approved grant requests to the Delaware Express Under 12 Fastpitch Softball Team for tournament expenses, to CHEER for their Deck the Halls fundraiser and to Laurel Middle School for the Red Ribbon Fall Festival, a drug-awareness event.

Because of a light agenda, they also canceled next week’s meeting. The council will meet again on Tuesday, Oct. 30, at 10 a.m.