Who says government doesn't have a heart? The Howard County Circuit Court clerk's office will open Valentine's Day to marry couples like Scott Guile and Tina Claburn.
"We said 'Let's get married on Valentine's Day,' but we thought we couldn't because they are normally closed" Saturdays, said Guile, 26. He and Claburn, 25, who live in Laurel, decided last weekend to get married after a four-year courtship.
Enter Clerk Margaret D. Rappaport. Recognizing that the calendar's annual day for love and romance comes face-to-face with one of its gloomier slots, Friday the 13th, she decided to open for marriages Saturday morning.
"I know that if I needed a civil ceremony, had my heart set on getting married on the 14th of February and couldn't, I'd be disappointed," she said.
Rappaport will be joined Saturday by her chief deputy, Ann Marie O'Connor-Patterson, who also volunteered to help. Rappaport will dig into her pockets and buy a bouquet of roses for each of Saturday's brides.
In all other area jurisdictions except Anne Arundel County, couples hoping to marry Saturday are out of luck.
An unwillingness to get married on Friday the 13th -- a day that conjures up images of black cats and bad luck -- resulted in only three couples scheduling for Friday, said Rappaport, who normally marries 15 couples Fridays.
How many will show up Saturday remains to be seen. But there's plenty of interest. Before deciding to open, Rappaport initially turned away 20 couples who wanted to be married on Valentine's Day.
Rappaport is trying to contact the three couples scheduled for the 13th to offer them the Saturday alternative.
Couples sometimes prefer such civil ceremonies because they're of different faiths or were previously married, said Rappaport.
To be married this Saturday, couples must apply at the clerk's office in Ellicott City by tomorrowto allow enough time to satisfy the state law requiring a 48-hour waiting period. The application costs $35 and the ceremony an additional $25.
Pub Date: 2/11/98