Saying ‘I do’ takes on a new priority

It was about 8 a.m. on a Monday when Matthew Sabato looked across the paint-splattered studio in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City, where he lives with his partner, Pedro Silva, an artist.

“Put down the paintbrush,” he recalls saying, as they drank their coffee. “Let’s go to City Hall.”

For months, the couple, who met two years ago on the dating app Tinder, had been discussing their future. But after the presidential election in November, formalizing their commitment became a priority.

“He’s foreign,” Sabato said.

Silva, who is from Brazil, is in the United States on a tourist visa, which expires in early February.

“We’re afraid because Trump is going to be our president,” Sabato said.

In the weeks before and after the election of Donald Trump, whose promise to deport millions of immigrants was a central theme of his campaign, the number of couples getting marriage licenses has surged in New York City and other cities across the country.

While there is no data explaining why couples are suddenly marrying at a faster pace, many immigrants and their partners say they are feeling an urgency to put a ring on before Inauguration Day.

Couples like Silva and Sabato are forgoing gushy, diamond-studded proposals in favor of frank discussions at the breakfast table. For some, a marriage certificate has become a protective shield.

“We don’t want anything to separate us,” Sabato said.

Five days after Sabato’s “unromantic,” proposal, his parents traveled from Florida to witness the couple’s ceremony…

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