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Marriage Laws In the United States. Please note that I am not an attorney and this information is provided as a convenience. You should always verify with your local court.


Alaska
The minister, priest or rabbi of any church or congregation in the state may perform marriages. Ministers must provide marriage certificates to the couple married and report the marriage to the Marriage Commissioner.


Alabama
I may solemnize marriages according to section 30-1-7 of the Alabama code.
http://www.legislature.state.al.us/codeofalabama/1975/30%2D1%2D7.htm

(a)Marriages may be solemnized by any licensed minister of the gospel in regular communion with the Christian church or society of which he is a member, by a judge of the Supreme Court, Court of Criminal Appeals, Court of Civil Appeals, any circuit court or any district court within this state or by a judge of probate within his county or any retired judge of the Supreme Court, retired judge of the Court of Criminal Appeals, retired judge of the Court of Civil Appeals, retired judge of the circuit court, retired judge of the district court within this state or a retired judge of probate within his county.

(b) Pastor of religious society; clerk of society to maintain register of marriages; register, etc., deemed presumptive evidence of fact. Marriage may also be solemnized by the pastor of any religious society according to the rules ordained or custom established by such society. The clerk or keeper of the minutes of each society must keep a register and enter therein a particular account of all marriages solemnized by the society, which register, or a sworn copy thereof, is presumptive evidence of the fact.

(c) Quakers, Mennonites or other religious societies. The people called Mennonites, Quakers, or any other Christian society having similar rules or regulations, may solemnize marriage according to their forms by consent of the parties, published and declared before the congregation assembled for public worship.

Section 30-1-9
No marriage shall be solemnized without a license. Marriage licenses may be issued by the judges of probate of the several counties. The license is an authority to anyone qualified to solemnize marriage to join together in matrimony the persons therein named. Any license issued under the provisions of this section shall be invalid if the marriage for which it was issued has not been solemnized within 30 days from the date of issuance. No person now or hereafter authorized by law to solemnize marriages shall perform any ceremony or solemnize any marriage if the license issued for such marriage has become invalid. Said license shall have stamped or printed upon it the words: "This license is void after 30 days from date unless the marriage is solemnized within said time."

Section 30-1-8
Any person authorized under this chapter to celebrate the rites of matrimony is entitled to $2.00 for each marriage solemnized.

Section 30-1-13
All persons or religious societies solemnizing marriage by virtue of a license or according to their peculiar forms must, within one month thereafter, certify the fact in writing to the judge of probate, setting forth the names of the parties and the time and place of the celebration thereof, which certificate must be recorded in the book kept for the registry of licenses. A certified copy thereof is presumptive evidence of the fact.

Section 30-1-14
Failure of minister, etc., to return marriage certificate to probate judge. Any judge, minister of the gospel or other person uniting persons in matrimony or any clerk or keeper of the minutes of a religious society celebrating marriage by the consent of the parties before the congregation, who fails to return a certificate thereof to the judge of probate, as required by law, is guilty of a misdemeanor.


Arizona
I may solemnize marriages according to section 25-124 of the Arizona statutes.
http://www.azleg.state.az.us/ars/25/title25.htm
Any licensed or ordained clergyman may perform marriages. Ministers must record the marriage on the marriage license and return it to the clerk of the Superior Court within 20 days after the marriage.


Arkansas
I may solemnize marriages according to section 9-11-213 of the Arkansas statutes.
Any regularly ordained minister or priest of any religious sect or denomination may perform marriages. Ministers must have their ordination credentials filed by the county clerk who will then issue a certificate to the minister. The marriage license must be completed by the minister and returned to the county clerk within 60 days from the date the license was issued.


California
I may solemnize marriages according to section 400 of the California code.
Any priest, minister, or rabbi of any religious denomination, of the age of 18 years or over may perform marriages. Ministers must complete the marriage license and return it to the county clerk within 4 days after the marriage.


Colorado
Marriages may be performed by any minister. Ministers must send a marriage certificate to the county clerk.


Connecticut
All ordained or licensed clergymen belonging to this state or any other state may perform marriages as long as they continue in the work of the ministry. Marriage license must be completed by the minister and returned to the city or town clerk.


Delaware
Any ordained minister of the gospel and every minister in charge of a recognized church may perform marriages. Ministers do not need to be licensed to perform marriages but they must report their name and address to the local registrar in the district in which they live. Ministers must keep the marriage license or a copy for at least one year. Also, the minister must, within 4 days, complete and return forms required by the State Board of Health to the clerk of the peace.


Florida
All regularly ordained ministers of the gospel in communion with some church may perform marriages. Ministers must complete a certificate of marriage on the marriage license and return it to the office from which it was issued.


Georgia
Any minister who is authorized by his or her church may perform marriages. Ministers must complete a certificate of marriage and return it to the ordinary within 30 days after the marriage.


Hawaii
Guide to getting married in Hawaii
Any minister may perform marriages if they are authorized by their church to do so. Ministers must obtain a license from the department of health before performing marriages. Ministers must keep a record of all marriages they perform. Ministers must report all marriages they perform to the department of health. Contact the church for a letter of Good Standing prior to applying.


Idaho
I may solemnize marriages according to Idaho statue Title 32, chapters 3 and 4.
http://www3.state.id.us/cgi-bin/newidst?sctid=320030003.K
http://www3.state.id.us/cgi-bin/newidst?sctid=320040005.K
Marriages may be performed by priests or ministers of the gospel of any denomination. Ministers must give a marriage certificate to the bride and to the groom. Also, the minister must complete the license and marriage certificate and return it to the recorder who issued it within 30 days after the marriage.


Illinois
I may solemnize marriages according to Chapter 750 of the Illinois Code.
http://www.legis.state.il.us/legislation/ilcs/ch750/ch750act5articles/ch750act5Sub2.htm
Marriages may be performed by ministers of the gospel in regular standing in the church or society to which they belong. The marriage license and certificate must be completed by the minister and returned to the county clerk within 30 days after the marriage.


Indiana
I may solemnize marriages according to Indiana Code 31-11-6-1
http://www.in.gov/legislative/ic/code/title31/ar11/ch6.html
Ministers of the gospel and priests of every church throughout the state may perform marriages. Ministers must return the marriage license and a certificate of marriage to the clerk of the circuit court within 3 months after the marriage.


Iowa
Ministers of the gospel who are ordained by their church may perform marriages. Minister must give a certificate of marriage to the bride and to the groom. Also, the minister must report the marriage to the clerk of the district court within 15 days after the marriage.


Kansas
Any ordained clergyman of any religious denomination or society may perform marriages. Ministers are required to file credentials or ordination with the judge of a probate court before performing marriages. Ministers must return the marriage license and a certificate of marriage to the probate judge who issued the marriage license within 10 days after the marriage.


Kentucky
Marriages may be performed by any minister of the gospel or priests of any denomination with any religious society. Ministers must be licensed before performing marriages. See the local county clerk for a license. Ministers must return the marriage license and marriage certificate to the county clerk within 3 months after the marriage. It is illegal to solicit marriages.


Louisiana
Ministers of the gospel or priests of any denomination in regular communion with any religious society may perform marriages. Ministers must register with the clerk of the district court of the parish or with the health department if in New Orleans. After performing a marriage, the minister must complete a marriage certificate and return it to the clerk of the district court.


Maine
I may solemnize marriages according to Title 19A, chapter 23, paragraph 655.
http://janus.state.me.us/legis/statutes/19-A/title19-Asec655.html
Ordained ministers of the gospel may perform marriages. Ministers must be licensed by the Secretary of State before performing marriages. Application may be made to the town clerk or treasurer. There is a $5 fee. After the marriage, the minister must file a copy of the record of marriage with the town clerk.


Maryland
Any minister of the gospel authorized by the rules and customs of their church may perform marriages. Ministers must complete the marriage license and marriage certificate and give one certificate to the couple. Another certificate and the license must be returned to the clerk of the Court of Common Pleas within five days after the marriage.


Massachusetts
Obtaining a Marriage License in Massachusetts
Ordained ministers of the gospel may perform marriages. Before performing marriages, ministers are required to apply for a certificate from the state. For applications write to: The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Office of the Secretary, Supervisor, Commissions Division, State House, Boston, Massachusetts 02133. You must file a copy of your ordination certificate and a statement from the church saying that you are in good standing. Please let us know well in advance if you need a statement from us. Ministers must keep records of all marriages they perform. Also, ministers must return a certificate of the marriage to the town clerk or registrar who issued the marriage license and to the town clerk of the town where the marriage was performed.


Michigan
Marriages may be solemnized by any of the following: (a) federal, probate, district, and municipal judges, and district court magistrates, in their court area; (b) mayors, in their city; (c) Wayne County clerks; (d) ministers of the gospel, anywhere in the state, "if the minister is ordained or authorized to solemnize marriages according to the usages of the denomination, and is a pastor of a church in this state, or continues to preach the gospel in this state"; and (a) non- resident ministers of the gospel, anywhere in the state, if the minister is authorized to solemnize marriages by his or her state's laws. (MCL 551.7; MSA 25.7.) Two witnesses are required.


Minnesota
Any licensed or ordained minister of the gospel in regular communion with a religious society may perform marriages. Ministers must file a copy of their credentials of ordination with the clerk of the district court of any county. Ministers must give a marriage certificate to the bride and groom and also file a certificate with the clerk of the district court in the county which issued the marriage license.


Mississippi
Any ordained minister of the gospel who is in good standing with his or her church may perform marriages. Ministers must send a certificate of marriage to the clerk who issued the marriage license within three months after the marriage.


Missouri
Marriages may be performed by any clergyman who is a citizen of the United States and who is in good standing with any church or synagogue in this state. Ministers must keep a record of all marriages they perform. They must give the couple a marriage certificate and must complete the marriage license and return it to the recorder of deeds within 90 days after the day the marriage license was issued.


Montana
Ministers of the gospel of any denomination may perform marriages. Ministers must complete and return a marriage certificate to the clerk of the district court within 30 days after the marriage. Also, the minister must provide marriage certificates to the bride and groom upon request.

Montana has in interesting "double proxy" law that allows two people to stand in for the couple at their wedding via a notarized letter of proxy. The real bride and groom don't even have to be there!


Nebraska
Any ordained clergyman whatsoever, without regard to the sect to which they belong may perform marriages. Ministers must report marriages they perform to the county judge who issued the marriage license within 15 days after the marriage. Also the minister must provide marriage certificates to the bride and groom upon request.


Nevada
Nevada Marriage Information
Any ordained minister in good standing with his denomination, whose denomination is incorporated or organized or established in the State of Nevada may perform marriages. Ministers are required to complete a complicated procedure to obtain a certificate of permissions to perform marriages. Among other requirements, the applicant's ministry must be primarily one of service to his congregation or denomination and his performance of marriages must be incidental to such service.


New Hampshire
New Hampshire Marriage Information
Marriages may be performed by any ordained minister of the gospel who resides in the state and is in good standing with his church. Ministers not residing in the state may obtain permission to perform a marriage upon application to the Secretary of State. Ministers must send a copy of the marriage certificate to the town clerk.


New Jersey
New Jersey Marriage Information
I may solemnize marriages according to Chapter 37, paragraph 1-13.
http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/
Every minister of every religion may perform marriages. Ministers must complete a certificate of marriage and return it to the county clerk.


New Mexico
Any ordained clergyman whatsoever, without regard to the sect to which he or she may belong may perform marriages. Ministers must provide the county clerk with a marriage certificate within 90 days after the marriage.


New York State
I am authorized to perform marriages in New York State according to Section 11 of the Domestic Relations Law.
In most of the State of New York the following statutes apply, but an additional provision in the domestic relations act section 11b allows only cities of over one million to add additional requirements. In the Case of NYC they have violated these constitutional stautes by exceeding registration requirements allowed under the general laws or the domestic relations act. Your choice to perform weddings in NYC is to either comply with their illegal requirements, or to file legal action against the City and wait a court decision since the State has ignored reason to make the City comply under Constitutional law. Those wishing to have marriage authority in NYC need to understand both the law of the State and the minister's options within these laws.

As Revised, with Amendments Adopted by the Constitutional Convention of 1938 and Approved by vote of the People on November 8, 1938. As Amended and in Force January 1, 2002

Bill of Rights-New York Statuatory Law
Article 1.
Section 3. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed in this state to all humankind; and no person shall be rendered incompe- tent to be a witness on account of his or her opinions on matters of religious belief; but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness, or justify prac- tices inconsistent with the peace or safety of this state.

Section 11. No person shall be denied the equal protection of the laws of this state or any subdivision thereof. No person shall, because of race, color, creed or religion, be subjected to any discrimination in his or her civil rights by any other person or by any firm, corporation, or institution, or by the state or any agency or subdivision of the state.

Marriages may be performed by a clergyman or minister of any religion. However, a 1972 court case said that in order for a marriage to be valid, the minister must have an actual church or at least a stated meeting place for worship or any form of religious observance. Ministers do not have to be licensed except that before performing marriages in New York City, the minister must register his or her name and address in the office of the city clerk of the city of New York. Ministers must complete a marriage certificate and return it to the town or city clerk who issued the marriage license within 5 days after the marriage.

Additional Info: To be valid, a marriage ceremony must be performed by any of the individuals specified in Section 11 of the New York State Domestic Relations Law. These include:


The person performing the ceremony must be registered with the City of New York in order to perform a ceremony within the New York City limits. The officiant does not have to be a resident of New York State. Ship captains are not authorized to perform marriage ceremonies in New York State.


North Carolina
Any ordained minister of any faith who is authorized to perform marriages by his church may do so. Ministers must complete the marriage license and return it to the register of deeds who issued it.


North Dakota
Ordained ministers of the gospel and priests of every church may perform marriages. Ministers must file a certificate of marriage with the county judge who issued the license within 5 days after the marriage. Certificates must also be given to the persons married.


Oklahoma
Ordained ministers of the gospel of any denomination who are at least 18 years of age may perform marriages. Ministers must file a copy of their credentials with the county clerk before performing marriages. Ministers must complete a certificate of marriage and return it to the clerk or judge who issued the marriage license.


Oregon
Ministers of any church organized, carrying on its work, and having congregations in this state may perform marriages in this state if authorized by their church to do so. Before performing marriages, ministers must file their credentials with the county clerk of the county in which they reside or in which the marriage is to be performed. Ministers must give the bride and groom a marriage certificate upon request. Also, the minister must send a marriage certificate to the county clerk who issued the marriage license within one month after the marriage.


Pennsylvania
Ministers of any regularly established church or congregation may perform marriages. Also, persons may marry themselves if they obtain a certificate from the clerk of the orphans' court. Ministers must provide a certificate of marriage to the bride and groom. Also, they must send a marriage certificate to the clerk of the orphans' court who issued the marriage license within 10 days after the marriage.


Rhode Island
Everyone who has been, or is, the minister of any society professing to meet for religious purposes, or incorporated for the promotion of such purposes, and holding stated and regular services, and who has been ordained according to the customs and usage's of such society may perform marriages. Ministers must obtain a license from the city or town clerk before performing marriages. Ministers must endorse and return the marriage license to the town or city clerk in which the marriage was performed.


South Carolina
Ministers of the gospel who are authorized to administer oaths in this state may perform marriages. Ministers must complete the marriage license and give one copy to the parties and the other two must be returned to the county judge of probate who issued it within 15 days after the marriage.


South Dakota
Marriages may be performed by a minister of the gospel, or priest of any denomination. Ministers must provide the bride and groom with marriage certificates upon request. Ministers must also keep a record book of all marriages they perform. Finally, the minister must send a marriage certificate to the clerk who issued the marriage license within 30 days after the marriage.


Tennessee
All regular ministers of the gospel of every denomination, and Jewish rabbis, more than 18 years of age, having the care of souls may perform marriages. Ministers must endorse the marriage license and return it to the clerk of the county court within three days after the marriage.


Texas
Ordained Christian ministers and priests; Jewish rabbis and persons who are officers of religious organizations and who are duly authorized by the organization to conduct marriage ceremonies may perform marriages. Ministers must complete the marriage license and return it to the county clerk who issued it within 30 days after the marriage.


Utah
Ministers of the gospel or priests of any denomination who are in regular communion with any religious society may perform marriages. Ministers must provide a certificate of marriage to the county clerk who issued the marriage license within 30 days after the marriage.


Vermont
Vermont Marriage Information
Ordained ministers residing in this state may perform marriages. Non-resident ordained ministers may perform marriages with the permission of the probate court of the district within which the marriage is to take place. Ministers must complete the marriage license and certificate of marriage and return it to the clerk's office from which it was issued within ten days from the date of the marriage.


Virginia
Virginia Code
Interestingly, Virginia resident non-clergy can sign up for a one-time permit to celebrate a wedding. Apply in person at the Clerk's office of any Circuit Court. Ministers of any religious denomination may perform marriages. Before performing marriages, ministers must provide proof of their ordination and proof that they are in regular communion with their church to the circuit court of any county or city or to the corporation court of any city in this state. The judge will then authorize the minister to perform marriages provided the minister obtains a bond in the amount of $500. Ministers must complete the marriage certificate and return it to the clerk who issued the marriage license within five days after the marriage.


Virgin Islands
Clergymen or ministers of any religion, whether they reside in the Virgin Islands or elsewhere in the United States may perform marriages. Ministers must complete the marriage license and return it to the clerk of the municipal court which issued the license within 10 days after the marriage is performed.


Washington
Regularly licensed or ordained ministers or any priest of any church or religious denomination anywhere within the state may perform marriages. Ministers must send two certificates of marriage to the county auditor within 30 days after the marriage.


Washington, D.C.
I may solemnize marriages according to DC code 46-406
(1) "Religious" includes or pertains to a belief in a theological doctrine, a belief in and worship of a divine ruling power, a recognition of a supernatural power controlling man's destiny, or a devotion to some principle, strict fidelity or faithfulness, conscientiousness, pious affection, or attachment.
(2) "Society" means a voluntary association of individuals for religious purposes.

For the purpose of preserving the evidence of marriages in the District of Columbia, every minister of any religious society approved or ordained according to the ceremonies of his religious society, whether his residence is in the District of Columbia or elsewhere in the United States or the territories, may be authorized by any judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia to celebrate marriages in the District of Columbia. Marriages may also be performed by any judge or justice of any court of record; provided, that marriages of any religious society which does not by its own custom require the intervention of a minister for the celebration of marriages may be solemnized in the manner prescribed and practiced in any such religious society, the license in such case to be issued to, and returns to be made by, a person appointed by such religious society for that purpose. The Clerk of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia or such deputy clerks of the Court as may, in writing, be designated by the Clerk and approved by the Chief Judge, may celebrate marriages in the District of Columbia.

Ministers must register with the clerk of the superior court prior to performing weddings.


West Virginia
S. B. 59 now requires that all ministers in communion and or good standing with their church will need to file a copy of their ordination, a fee of $25.00 and application with the Secretary of State's office prior to performing marriage services. The application form may be found at their website or can be requested through the State's offices. This is a one time filing that is good as long as the minister maintains good standing with their church.


Wisconsin
Any ordained clergyman of any religious denomination or society may perform marriages. Before performing marriages, ministers must file their credentials of ordination with the clerk of the circuit court in the county in which their church is located. The clerk will give the minister a certificate. Ministers must complete the marriage certificates and give one to the bride and one to the groom. The original must be returned to the register of deed's of the county in which the marriage was performed or if performed in a city, to the city health officer. This must be done within 3 days after the marriage.


Wyoming
Every licensed or ordained minister of the gospel may perform marriages. Ministers must give a marriage certificate to the bride and groom upon request and must return a certificate to the county clerk.
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