Effective August 1, couples in Minnesota will no longer have to wait five days between applying for a marriage license and getting hitched. This decision frees Minnesota from having the longest marriage waiting period in the nation (tied only with Wisconsin).
"The primary reason that [the law changed] is because we don't think it benefits citizens and customers," says Hennepin County auditor and treasurer Mark Chapin. "In this time frame we are in, with instant ccommunication people are surprised there is this waiting period." It can be a disadvantage for couples who don't want to wait fives days for personal reasons, such as elopement, military deployment, or a dying family member.
Up until now, couples could only override the five-day waiting period with special permission from a judge. Hennepin County began tracking these occurrences, and couldn't find an instance where a judge denied a petition for marriage.
The law was first put into place in Minnesota in 1931. Although there is no official record of the reasoning behind the law, Chapin says there is speculation that the government wanted to give couples a few days to think about whether or not they could support a family during the tough economic climate of the Great Depression.