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- Ohio: Marriage Officiants: To have legally recognized clergy status in Ohio, one must have ordination papers from a church recognized in Ohio.
o Contact the Ohio Secretary of State at 30 E. Broad St., 14th Floor; Columbus, OH 43266-0418. Request the application for a minister’s license. When you receive it, send the completed form, a photocopy of your ordination certificate, and a $10 check or money order to the above address. This will take 2-3 weeks.
o By Ohio Law, licensed clergy must report suspected child or elder abuse to authorities, as well as follow State laws when marrying couples. A summary of the laws is provided at licensure. This license makes chaplaincy status at hospitals, etc. easier to obtain.
Any ordained or licensed minister of any religious society or congregation within this state may perform marriages.
— Before performing a marriage, ministers must present their ordination credentials to the probate judge of any county. The judge will provide the minister with a license to perform marriages. The minister must then present his license to the probate judge in any county in which he performs a marriage.
—Ministers must send a certificate of marriage to the probate judge of the county which issued the marriage license within 30 days after the marriage. — For questions see the clerk of the probate court.
- Oklahoma: Marriage Officiants: Oklahoma statutes provide for clergy who are not licensed therapists to give certain kinds of counseling. Clergymen may also visit prisoners. The law also provides a right to confidential communications with a clergyman acting in his professional capacity. In this state, the confidentiality belongs the communicant, not in the clergyman.
o Constitution of Oklahoma: Article I § 2. Religious Liberty — Polygamous or plural marriages. Perfect toleration of religious sentiment shall be secured, and no inhabitant of the State shall ever be molested in person or property on account of his or her mode of religious worship; and no religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights. Polygamous or plural marriages are forever prohibited.
Title 43 § 7 Solemnization of marriages.
- All marriages must be contracted by a formal ceremony performed or solemnized in the presence of at least two adult, competent persons as witnesses, by a judge or retired judge of any court of record in this state, or an ordained or authorized preacher or minister of the Gospel, priest or other ecclesiastical dignitary of any denomination who has been duly ordained or authorized by the church to which he belongs to preach the Gospel, or a rabbi and who is at least eighteen (18) years of age. The preacher, minister, priest, rabbi or ecclesiastical dignitary who is a resident of this state shall have filed, in the office of the court clerk of the county in which he resides, a copy of his credentials or authority from his church or synagogue authorizing him to solemnize marriages. The preacher, minister, priest, rabbi or ecclesiastical dignitary who is not a resident of this state, but has complied with the laws of the state of which he is a resident, shall have filed once, in the office of the court clerk of the county in which he intends to perform or solemnize a marriage, a copy of his credentials or authority from his church or synagogue authorizing him to solemnize marriages. Such filing by resident or nonresident preachers, ministers, priests, rabbis or ecclesiastical dignitaries shall be effective in and for all counties of this state; provided, that no fee shall be charged for such recording; but no person herein authorized to perform or solemnize the marriage ceremony shall do so unless the license issued therefor be first delivered into his possession nor unless he has good reason to believe the persons presenting themselves before him for marriage are the identical persons named in the license, and for whose marriage the name was issued, and that there is no legal objection or impediment to such marriage.
- Marriages between persons belonging to the society called Friends, or Quakers, the spiritual assembly of the Baha’Is, or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which have no ordained minister, may be solemnized by the persons and in the manner prescribed by and practiced in any such society, church or assembly.
Title 43 § 8 Endorsement and return of license. The person performing or solemnizing the marriage ceremony shall immediately upon the completion thereof endorse upon the license authorizing the marriage his name; official or clerical designation; the court of which he is judge or the congregation or body of which he is pastor, preacher, minister, priest, rabbi or dignitary, provided, that the authority to perform or solemnize marriages shall be coextensive with the congregation or body of which he is pastor, preacher, minister, priest, rabbi or dignitary; the town or city and county where the same is located; and signed by him with his official or clerical designation. The witnesses to the ceremony shall endorse the license authorizing the marriage with their names and post office addresses. The license with such certificate thereon shall be transmitted without delay to the judge or the court clerk who issued the same. Provided that all marriages solemnized among the society called Friends, or Quakers, the spiritual assembly of the Baha’Is, or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, in the form heretofore practiced and in use in their meetings shall be good and valid. One person chosen by such society, church or assembly shall be responsible for completing the certification of marriage pursuant to this title in the same manner as a minister or other person authorized to perform marriages. Such person shall be chosen by the society, church or assembly for this purpose.
- Oregon: Marriage Officiants: 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. — For questions see the county clerk.
- Pennsylvania: Marriage Officiants: 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. — For questions see the clerk of the orphans’ court.
- Rhode Island: Marriage Officiants: 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 usages 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. — For questions see the town or city clerk.
- South Carolina: Marriage Officiants: 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. — For questions see the county judge of probate or his clerk.
o Also, anyone that is a notary public in the state of South Carolina is authorized to perform marriage ceremonies.
- South Dakota: Marriage Officiants: 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. — For questions see the clerk of courts.
- Tennessee: Marriage Officiants: (a) The laws are currently being revised. See details here:
- Texas: Marriage Officiants: 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. — For questions see the county clerk.
- Utah: Marriage Officiants: 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. — For questions see the county clerk.
- Vermont: Marriage Officiants: 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. — For questions see the city/town clerk.
- Virginia: Marriage Officiants: The procedure in Virginia is less well defined. According to the official in Arlington County, you bring (in person) your “certificate of ordination”, a photo ID, and $16 the Clerk’s office of any Circuit Court. Then the clerk will ask you “some questions” about things like whether or not you have a congregation in Virginia, how many members, and whether your group is recognized as a religious group by the IRS. Then either the clerk will register you or buck the problem up to a judge. Nonresidents are eligible.
VA-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.
- Washington: Marriage Officiants: 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. — For questions see the county auditor.
- West Virginia: Marriage Officiants: The West Virginia Legislature adopted S. B. 59, establishing new provisions for the registration of religious representatives to be authorized to perform marriages in any county in West Virginia.
The provisions replace previous requirements for registration with the county clerk, however approval of the bond or exemption from the bonding requirement was left with the county commission.
Requirements for Registration:
- Proof of Age The registrant must be 18 years of age or older, and may show proof using a birth certificate, driver license, passport or military ID.
- Proof of Authority The registrant must be: duly authorized to perform marriages by his or her church, synagogue, spiritual assembly or religious organization; and in regular communion with that group of which he or she is a member.
- Bond The bonding requirement is waived if the registrant gives proof before the county commission of his or her ordination or similar formal authorization by the religious organization.
A bond of $1,500 with surety approved by the county commission, is required if the formal ordination or similar authorization is not provided. A letter from the members of a single congregation unaffiliated with a recognized religious body is not considered proof sufficient to be exempt from the bonding requirement.
Registry The Secretary of State will establish a registry of all persons authorized to perform marriages.
o The law requires county clerks in the 55 counties to forward to the Secretary of State by October 1, 2001, the name of every person authorized since 1960 to perform marriages for inclusion in the registry. The Secretary of State must then forward the completed registry and periodic updates back to the county clerks.
- Wisconsin: Marriage Officiants: 765.16″ Marriage contract, how made; officiating person. Take each other as husband and wife, made before an authorized officiating person and in the presence of at least 2 competent adult witnesses other than the officiating person. The following are authorized to be officiating persons:
(a) Any ordained member of the clergy of any religious denomination or society who continues to be an ordained member of the clergy.
(b) Any licentiate of a denominational body or an appointee of any bishop serving as the regular member of the clergy of any church of the denomination to which the member of the clergy belongs, if not restrained from so doing by the discipline of the church or denomination.
(c) The 2 parties themselves, by mutual declarations that they take each other as husband and wife, in accordance with the customs, rules and regulations of any religious society, denomination or sect to which either of the parties may belong.
(d) Any judge of a court of record or a reserve judge appointed under s. 753.075.
(e) Any circuit court commissioner appointed under SCR 75.02 (1) or supplemental court commissioner appointed under s. 757.675 (1).
(f) Any municipal judge.
(2m)”, An officiating person under sub. (1m) (a), (b), (d), (e), or (f) must be at least 18 years old.
- Wyoming: Marriage Officiants: 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. — For questions see the county clerk.