Home


Become An Ordained Minister
Doctor of the Church
Practitioners Directory
Mary Magdalene
Knights Templar
Esoteric Mystery School
Textbooks
Public Speaker
Products & Services
Top |Home |
Site Directory |
Esoteric Christianity Blog

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.


Become An Ordained Minister
Doctor of the Church
Practitioners Directory
Mary Magdalene
Knights Templar
Esoteric Mystery School
Textbooks
Public Speaker
Products & Services
Top | Home
Site Directory

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.


Become An Ordained Minister
Doctor of the Church
Practitioners Directory
Mary Magdalene
Knights Templar
Esoteric Mystery School
Textbooks
Public Speaker
Products & Services
Top | Home
Site Directory

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.


Become An Ordained Minister
Doctor of the Church
Practitioners Directory
Mary Magdalene
Knights Templar
Esoteric Mystery School
Textbooks
Public Speaker
Products & Services
Top | Home
Site Directory

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.


Become An Ordained Minister
Doctor of the Church
Practitioners Directory
Mary Magdalene
Knights Templar
Esoteric Mystery School
Textbooks
Public Speaker
Products & Services
Top | Home
Site Directory

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.


Become An Ordained Minister
Doctor of the Church
Practitioners Directory
Mary Magdalene
Knights Templar
Esoteric Mystery School
Textbooks
Public Speaker
Products & Services
Top | Home
Site Directory

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.


Become An Ordained Minister
Doctor of the Church
Practitioners Directory
Mary Magdalene
Knights Templar
Esoteric Mystery School
Textbooks
Public Speaker
Products & Services
Top | Home
Site Directory

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.


Become An Ordained Minister
Doctor of the Church
Practitioners Directory
Mary Magdalene
Knights Templar
Esoteric Mystery School
Textbooks
Public Speaker
Products & Services
Top | Home
Site Directory

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.


Become An Ordained Minister
Doctor of the Church
Practitioners Directory
Mary Magdalene
Knights Templar
Esoteric Mystery School
Textbooks
Public Speaker
Products & Services
Top | Home
Site Directory

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.


Become An Ordained Minister
Doctor of the Church
Practitioners Directory
Mary Magdalene
Knights Templar
Esoteric Mystery School
Textbooks
Public Speaker
Products & Services
Top | Home
Site Directory

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.


Become An Ordained Minister
Doctor of the Church
Practitioners Directory
Mary Magdalene
Knights Templar
Esoteric Mystery School
Textbooks
Public Speaker
Products & Services
Top | Home
Site Directory

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.


Become An Ordained Minister
Doctor of the Church
Practitioners Directory
Mary Magdalene
Knights Templar
Esoteric Mystery School
Textbooks
Public Speaker
Products & Services
Top | Home
Site Directory

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.


Become An Ordained Minister
Doctor of the Church
Practitioners Directory
Mary Magdalene
Knights Templar
Esoteric Mystery School
Textbooks
Public Speaker
Products & Services
Top | Home
Site Directory

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.


Become An Ordained Minister
Doctor of the Church
Practitioners Directory
Mary Magdalene
Knights Templar
Esoteric Mystery School
Textbooks
Public Speaker
Products & Services
Top | Home
Site Directory

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.


Become An Ordained Minister
Doctor of the Church
Practitioners Directory
Mary Magdalene
Knights Templar
Esoteric Mystery School
Textbooks
Public Speaker
Esoteric
Products & Services

Top | Home
Site Directory

Marriage Ceremony Officiating Requirements by State

Because we have Separation of Church and State in the United States the government, be it local, state or federal, canNOT decide whether you are allowed to become an ordained minister or not.  There are only two things the government cares about -- the money you make and any legal transactions you officiate. The only legal transaction we as ministers officiate over are MARRIAGES.  Every state and some cities have guidelines for ministers who want to perform marriages.  This page lists a summary of each state's marriage performance requirements.

We're not lawyers. This information is to give you some idea of what is involved to perform legal marriages aka weddings in your jurisdiction.

AL  AK  AZ  AR  CA  CO  CT  DE  D.C.  FL  GA  HI  ID  IL  IN  IA  KS  KY  LA  ME  MD  MA  MI  MN  MS  MO  MT  NE  NV  NH  NJ  NM  NY  NewYorkCity  NC  ND  OH  OK  OR  PA  RI  SC  SD  TN  TX  UT  VT  VA  Virgin Islands  WA  WV  WI  WY  CANADA

Help us keep this information up to date.  If you know of any changes for any of these state laws or can add information, please email the Sitekeeper. When this page went online in the year 2000 it was one of the only places you could find all 50 states minister / clergy rules. About.com now has an awesome up-to-date state listings on their Marriage page.

Alabama

Any licensed minister may perform marriages. Also, marriages may be performed by the pastor [clergy] of any recognized religious society according to the rules of the religious society. --- Ministers must provide a certificate of the marriage to the judge of probate within one month after the marriage. --- For questions see the clerk for the judge of probate.

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.

Arizona

Title 25
"Duly licensed or ordained clergymen. Any minister who has been licensed by their church."

- 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. - -- For questions see the clerk of the Superior Court
Official Information
:

ALIS (Arizona Legislative Computer Services)

Arkansas

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. --- For questions see the county clerk.

California

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 10 days after the marriage. --- For questions see the county clerk.

Canada  In order to perform marriages, Canadians must send a copy of the Ordination Certificate we give you to the Registrar General.  You will also need one of two other things:  either a special letter from our church's governing official in Canada OR fill out extra forms to become the governing official of your own new church in Canada.  Your Registrar General will tell you what to do to get the marriage performance license.

Top

Colorado

Marriages may be performed by any minister. --- Ministers must send a marriage certificate to the county clerk. --- For questions see 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. --- For questions see 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. --- For questions see the clerk of the peace.

District of Columbia

Ordained ministers of the gospel may perform marriages. --- Marriage licenses are addressed to the minister who will perform the ceremony. The minister must complete a marriage certificate for the bride and for the groom and return another certificate to the clerk of the District of Columbia Court of General Sessions within 10 days after the marriage. --- For questions see the clerk of the Court of General Sessions.

If a member of your "religious society" is already registered as a minister qualified to perform weddings, you fill out an application, get the already-registered person to sign as "endorser", pay $35, and you're in. Application is available by fax-back from 202-879-4840.

If your "society" does not already have a minister registered in DC, then you have to assemble (I'm summarizing from the official information handout):

"The following documentation has been found by many judges of this court to be sufficient evidence of affiliation with a religious society to support the granting of an authorization to perform marriage ceremonies in the District of Columbia."

A certificate from the headquarters of the religious body showing that you are a minister

A copy of the charter of the society and a copy of the applicant's ordination

An affidavit from the applicant giving details on how long he has been a minister, where and how often he conducts religious meetings, the congregation size, whether or not he is a full-time minister, etc.

An endorsement from a "reputable" citizen of DC saying that the applicant is known as a religious minister and is a person of good moral character.

"If any of the above documentation cannot be produced, it would be helpful to the Court's determination to produce a written explanation of that omission." Oh, and everything must be either "certified or notarized".

Official Information:
For more information, you can call (202) 879-4850.

Top

Florida

Title XLIII Chapter 741.07
Any ordained or licensed clergy, notary publics, and justices of the peace.

Ministers must complete a certificate of marriage on the marriage license and return it to the office from which it was issued. --- For questions see the county clerk. Notaries may also solemnize marriages.

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. --- For questions see the ordinary's clerk at the county courthouse.

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. --- For questions see the department of health.

Idaho

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. --- For questions see the county recorder.

Illinois

Marriages may be performed by any clergy member in good standing with their "religious denomination". We provide the Letter of Good Standing for you if your county requires it. --- The marriage license and certificate must be completed by the minister and returned to the county clerk within 30 days after the marriage. --- For questions see the county clerk. You may read the actual Illinois marriage act code here, scroll down to the section about solemnizing marriages.

Indiana

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. ---For questions see the clerk of the circuit court.

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. -For questions see the clerk of the district court.

Top

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. --- Minister 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. --- For questions see the clerk of the probate court.

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. --- For questions see the county clerk.

http://www.jeffersoncountyclerk.org/records-documents/marlic.asp

Solemnization of Marriage:
1. Marriages shall be solemnized only by clergy, justices and judges of the Court of Justice; retired justices and judges of the Court of Justice, except those removed for cause or convicted of a felony; county judge/executives; such justices of the peace and fiscal court commissioners as the Governor or the county judge/executive authorizes, and certain religious societies.
2. At least two persons in addition to the parties and the person solemnizing the marriage must be present at every marriage.
3. There are no residency requirements or licensing requirements applicable to ministers or priests who wish to perform marriages in Kentucky.
4. A minister or priest, all justices and judges of the Court of Justice, justices of the peace and fiscal court commissioners may perform marriages anywhere in Kentucky.

Updated: 10/24/07

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. --- For questions see the clerk of the district court.

Maine

"A marriage, solemnized before any known inhabitant of the State professing to be a justice, judge, justice of the peace or notary public, or an ordained or licensed minister of the gospel, is not void, nor is its validity affected by any want of jurisdiction or authority in the justice, judge, justice of the peace, notary or minister or by any omission or informality in entering the intention of marriage, if the marriage is in other respects lawful and consummated with a full belief, on the part of either of the persons married, that they are lawfully married." (Title 19A § 657)

Whether a resident or nonresident of this State and whether or not a citizen of the United States:

An ordained minister of the gospel; A cleric engaged in the service of the religious body to which the cleric belongs; or A person licensed to preach by an association of ministers, religious seminary or ecclesiastical body. (Title 19A § 655)

"Every person authorized to unite persons in marriage shall make and keep a record of every marriage solemnized by that person in conformity with the forms and instructions prescribed by the State Registrar of Vital Statistics ..." (Title 19A § 654)

"A person who solemnizes a marriage when not authorized to do so under section 655 commits a civil violation for which a forfeiture not to exceed $100 for each offense may be adjudged. Forfeitures collected must be distributed to the municipality in which the offense occurred." (Title 19A § 659)

Official Information:

Search Maine Statutes

If questions should arise concerning any aspect of the marriage process or marriage laws in the State of Maine, the Department of Human Services, Bureau of Vital Records is the state agency which handles information for this particular area. You may contact this office at:

Department of Human Services
Bureau of Vital Records
11 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333-0011

(207) 287-3181

Top

Maryland
§2-406 (2)

A marriage ceremony may be performed in this State by any official of a religious order or body authorized by the rules and customs of that order or body to perform a marriage ceremony.

Who May Perform Marriages from: http://www.peoples-law.org/family/marriage/marriage%20home%20and%20faqs.htm
Upon presentation of a license, the rites of marriages may be performed by any minister, or official or other member of a religious groups so authorized by the rules and customs of the group, or for a fee, by any clerk or designated deputy clerk of the Circuit Court of any county or Baltimore City.  After the ceremony, the person who performed the ceremony returns the certificate of marriage, signed by the official and two witnesses, to the clerk of the court issuing the license to be recorded in the county or city records.  Copies of the certificate are available from the clerk’s office.

Unlawful Marriages A marriage that does not comply with the rules listed above is considered unlawful. The fact that a marriage is considered unlawful does not automatically mean that the marriage is invalid (or “void”).  For example, although a person who performs a marriage ceremony for a couple without a license may be fined, the marriage itself is valid.  A marriage is also valid if (unknown to the couple) a person without authority performs the ceremony.

The old law in Maryland, now gone as of 2005.
In Maryland, any adult can sign as clergy, as long as those who are getting married agree that he is clergy. The celebrant doesn't have to be a resident, register in advance, or fulfil any other requirements.

This entry Updated 2005

Massachusetts

Procedure to Perform Marriages in Massachusetts [retreived 7-9-2013]
Section 38 of Chapter 207 of the Massachusetts General Laws states in relevant part that a marriage may be solemnized according to the usage of any church or religious organization which has filed information relating to persons recognized or licensed as aforesaid and in relation to usage of such organizations in such form and at such times as the Secretary of the Commonwealth may require. Pursuant to this statute, a representative of the church must file the following with the Commissions Section of the Public Records Division:

  • A copy of his/her ordination papers. If ordination is not applicable, a license similar certificate issued by the religious organization will be accepted.
  • A letter of good standing from the leader of the religious organization on church letterhead.
  • Clergy must be a Massachusetts resident.

8-10-2007 Rev. Katia talked to an official at the Secty of State's Office in MA. He told her all that is needed for Mass. ministers to be registered to perform marriages in the State of Mass. (they must also reside within the State) is for them to fax a copy of their Certificate of Ordination to 617-727-2836. He says they should then fax it annually thereafter, the first of the year being a good time to do so.

In the statute there is a paragraph about ministers who reside out of MA but want to officiate a wedding within MA. They need to get a one day permit to perform a wedding. And must pay a $25 fee. Call this number for info if you are a non-resident of Mass. who wants to officiate a wedding there: 617-727-2836. Tell them you are out of state clergy and want instructions for getting the one-day permit.

Michigan

A minister 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 -- may perform marriages.
(i) A minister of the gospel, anywhere in the state, if the minister is not a resident of this state but is authorized to solemnize marriages under the laws of the state in which the minister resides.

We also have this note: Ministers must complete a marriage license/certificate and give one to the couple. Another marriage license/certificate must be returned to the county clerk who issued the license within 10 days after the marriage. --- For questions see the county clerk.

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. --- For questions see the clerk of the district court.

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 five days after the marriage. --- For questions see the clerk of the circuit court.

Missouri

Missouri Statute 451.100. Marriages may be solemnized by any clergyman, either active or retired, who is in good standing with any church or synagogue in this state. Marriages may also be solemnized, without compensation, by any judge, including a municipal judge. Marriages may also be solemnized by a religious society, religious institution, or religious organization of this state, according to the regulations and customs of the society, institution or organization, when either party to the marriage to be solemnized is a member of such society, institution or organization. [Pulled 7-2-2013]

2007 Note from somewhere else--- 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 marriage license was issued. --- For questions see the recorder of deeds.

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. ---For questions see the clerk of the district court.

Top

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. --- For questions see the county clerk.

Nevada

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. See the county clerk for applications, and for any questions you may have.

New Hampshire

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. ---For questions see the town clerk.

New Jersey

In New Jersey, "[various government officials] and every minister of every religion, are hereby authorized to solemnize marriage between such persons as may lawfully enter into the matrimonial relation; and every religious society, institution or organization in this State may join together in marriage such persons according to the rules and customs of the society, institution or organization." It is a misdemeanor for someone not so authorized to "solemnize" a marriage and it is a misdemeanor for someone who is authorized to perform a marriage without the presentation of a license. (Title 37:1-13,15)

As in most states, the prospective bride and groom give the marriage license directly to the minister: "Before a marriage can be lawfully performed in this state, the persons intending to be married shall obtain a marriage license from the licensing officer and deliver it to the person who is to officiate, but if the marriage is to be performed by or before any religious society, institution or organization, the license shall be delivered to such religious society, institution or organization, or any officer thereof." (Title 37:1-2)

A clergyman is also permitted to do "work of a psychological nature consistent with the accepted standards of their respective professions" and "work of a marriage and family therapy nature, ... , when acting within the scope of the person's profession or occupation and doing work consistent with the person's training". (Title 45:14B-8, 8B-8)

New Jersey: Who can perform a marriage ceremony?

According to state law, judges of a Federal District Court, United States Magistrates, Judges of a Municipal Court, Judges of the Superior Court, Judges of a Tax Court, Retired Judges of the Superior Court or Tax Court, or Judge of the Superior Court or Tax Court who has resigned in good standing, and any mayor/deputy mayor or chairman of any township committee, village president of New Jersey, County Clerks, and every minister of every religion may solemnize a marriage.

Official Information:
  •The Commissioner of the Department of Human Services
  •New Jersey State Legislature (search statutes)

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. --- For questions see the county clerk.

Top

New York

Important Note:  The City of New York has significantly different laws and procedures from the rest of the state. See "New York City" below.

--- 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. --- For questions see the town or city clerk.

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:

Various government officials;

a member of the clergy or minister who has been officially ordained and granted authority to perform marriage ceremonies from a governing church body in accordance with the rules and regulations of the church body;

a member of the clergy or minister who is not authorized by a governing Church body but who has been chosen by a spiritual group to preside over their spiritual affairs;

other officiants as specified by Section 11 of the Domestic Relations Law.

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.

Top

New York City   Marriage Officiant Info from NYC Clerk's website
Nov 2003 One of our newly ordained ministers from NYC wrote:

I went to the City Clerk's office Thursday and I am now a registered officiant. All I had to show was a copy of the Ordination Certificate and Minister Directory from you and my State I.D. (drivers license showing a NYC address). That is it! It helped that I had downloaded the application from the NYC Marriage License bureau website. I brought it in with the $15.00 money order made out to the City Clerk's Office. It was very quick, simple and painless. I was done in about 1/2 hour. Maybe less. The best part was signing in the huge, old handwritten ledger. The book is all crumbly and old and filled with a very strong potent energy. --Rev. Jude Lopez

METHOD 1:  As of Feb 2006 (and still as of May 2009) you need your ordination certificate from us, your D.L. and a copy of our Practitioner's Directory showing your entry in it, plus a notarized letter from us saying the Directory is true and correct.  For exact requirements see:
http://www.cityclerk.nyc.gov/html/marriage/officiant_reg.shtml

METHOD 2: UPDATE FROM SEMINARY
As of June 2011, our ministers are taking in two different (easier to obtain) documents when they register with NYC. Instead of the Minister Directory entry and notarized letter described above in Method 1, you may take in a copy of our church's Articles of Incorporation (we will email you that) and a letter from us stating you are in good standing, etc. (which we will of course also gladly send you if you are ordained by us). As of June 2011 two of our ministers have successfully used this new method. You still must take in your Certificate of Ordination from us and your drivers' license showing a NYC address.

Out of State Ministers: If you are an out-of-state minister travelling to NYC to perform one wedding within NYC limits, the requirements are easier, according to their website, which says: "If you reside outside of the City of New York you may mail the signed and notarized application, a photocopy of your proper identification and your fee of $15 by credit card or money order payable to the City Clerk." (Retrieved May 2009, rechecked June 2011)

Local and out of state ministers can even apply online, and then mail in exactly what they tell you.

You can always call them if need be:

City Clerk's Office, Clergy Registration desk
Audrey Sparks, +1-212-669-8095.
City Clerk's Office, General Counsel

Top

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. --- For questions see the register of deeds.

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. --- For questions see the county clerk.

Ohio

New Information as of June 2009.

Any minister, whether out of state or an Ohio resident, in order to solemnize a marriage must first submit an application and a copy of their Certificate of Ordination (which you got from us) along with a $10 fee to the Ohio Secretary of State Records Division office. You can read full instructions and even apply online here: http://www.sos.state.oh.us/SOS/MinisterLicense/licensing.aspx

You can also call the Records Division at (614) 728-9200 and ask them to send you a "Minister Licensing" packet by US Mail.

Top

Oklahoma

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 in the communicant, not in the clergyman.

Weddings

Oklahoma requires ministers to file their credentials in advance of performing a wedding. To file your credentials simply go to the County Clerk's Office (or Marriage Licensing Office) - usually at the County Courthouse. They will need to make a copy of your ordination papers or certificate of Chaplaincy. They will then record your credentials and issue a series of numbers which include a 'Book Number, Page Number, and Sequence or Section Number.' You will then put your 'Book Number, Page Number, Seq. Number' on the marriage license when you fill out the minister portion. There is no filing fee for ministers in the State of Oklahoma.

Additionally, you may obtain a form called a Disclosure of Premarital Counseling from the Clerk's Office. When this form is filled in by the minister/counselor, stating the bride and groom has received a minimum of four (4) hours of marriage education curriculum or counseling, it will save them $45.00 when they apply for their Marriage License.

From the State Constitution

Title 43 § 7 Solemnization of marriages. A. 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.

B. 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.

Official Information

Oklahoma Public Legal Research System


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. --- For questions see the county clerk.

Top

Pennsylvania
§1503

(a) A minister, priest or rabbi of any regularly established church or congregation.

(b) Religious organizations -- every religious society, religious institution or religious organization in this Commonwealth may join persons together in marriage when at least one of the persons is a member of the society, institution or organization, according to the rules and customs of the society institution or organization.

(c) Marriage license needed to officiate. -- no person or religious organization qualified to perform marriages shall officiate at a marriage ceremony without the parties having obtained a marriage license. 

Ministers need to file their credentials with the county clerk's office before solemnizing any marriages.
This entry updated 2005

***************************
A visitor to our site wrote in July 2006:

Good afternoon, I want to thank you for the information on your website on marriages per state, I live in the city of Philadelphia and on your site you state that the minister has to register his credentials before performing a marriage, well I went around looking for the Court of Orphans in our city and it is located in City Hall room 415, the phone number is 215-686-2230. I spoke to a gentlemen by the name of Nick and he told me that in the City of Philadelphia, and the state for that matter, ministers are not required to file anything that is strictly between the church or organization to establish who performs the marraiges, because of the separation between church and state. Therefore the minister is not required to file at all, the couple do have to have a marriage liscense before the ceremony actually takes place.

Please feel free to double check and make the corrections on your site.
Thank you.


Rhode Island

Here is the RI State Law re: Who may perform Marriages in the state. Clergy are not required to register with clerks offices.

Who May Perform the Ceremony
General Laws of Rhode Island § 15-3-5: Officials empowered to join persons in marriage. – Every ordained clergy or elder in good standing, every justice of the supreme court, superior court, family court, workers' compensation court, district court or administrative adjudication court, the clerk of the supreme court, every clerk or general chief clerk of a superior court, family court, district court, or administrative adjudication court, magistrates, special or general magistrates of the superior court, family court or district court, administrators of the workers' compensation court, every former justice or judge and former administrator of these courts and every former chief clerk of the district court, and every former clerk or general chief clerk of a superior court may join persons in marriage in any town in this state; and every justice and every former justice of the municipal courts of the cities and towns in this state and of the police court of the town of Johnston and every probate judge may join persons in marriage in any city or town in this state, and wardens of the town of New Shoreham may join persons in marriage in New Shoreham.

Responsibilities of the Officiate
• Perform the ceremony
• Obtain the signatures of the witnesses, and complete the Items 16a-16g on the license in black ink. No liquid correction fluid may be used.
• Register the marriage record within 72 hours at the Rhode Island city/town clerk office where the license was issued (Item 15D).

How and When To Obtain Certified Copies of the Marriage Record
• Complete an application at one of the following locations
• The city or town clerk’s office where the license was issued and where it is first available
• The State Office of Vital Records within a month of the ceremony
• The city or town where the ceremony took place (or the bride’s or groom’s Rhode Island residence, if different from the city/town of issuance) within two months of the ceremony
• Pay the fee of $15.00 for one copy and $10.00 for additional copies obtained at the same time

VS134 (Rev. Feb. 21, 2006) MarrReq02/2006

M. Smith – Deputy Town Clerk

South Carolina

South Carolina Code Section 20-1-20
"Only ministers of the Gospel or accepted Jewish rabbis and officers authorized in this State are authorized to administer a marriage ceremony in this State. "

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.

******
Also,
Anyone that is a notary public in the state of South Carolina is authorized to perform marriage ceremonies.

P. Thomas
Notary Public
State of South Carolina


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. --- For questions see the clerk of courts.

Tennessee

(a) (1) All regular ministers, preachers, pastors, priests, rabbis and other spiritual leaders of every religious belief, more than eighteen (18) years of age, having the care of souls, and all members of the county legislative bodies, county mayors, judges, chancellors, former chancellors and former judges of this state, former county executives or county mayors of this state, former members of quarterly county courts or county commissions who were members of such bodies on or before August 1, 1984, the governor, the speaker of the senate and former speakers of the senate, the speaker of the house of representatives and former speakers of the house of representatives, the county clerk of each county and the mayor of any municipality in the state may solemnize the rite of matrimony. For the purposes of this section, the several judges of the United States courts, including United States magistrates and United States bankruptcy judges, who are citizens of Tennessee are deemed to be judges of this state. The amendments to this section by Acts 1987, ch. 336 which applied provisions of this section to certain former judges do not apply to any judge who has been convicted of a felony or who has been removed from office.

(2) In order to solemnize the rite of matrimony, any such minister, preacher, pastor, priest, rabbi or other spiritual leader must be ordained or otherwise designated in conformity with the customs of a church, temple or other religious group or organization; and such customs must provide for such ordination or designation by a considered, deliberate, and responsible act.

Here's the complete Tennessee code:
http://www.state.tn.us/tccy/tnchild/36/36-3-301.htm

This entry updated March, 2009

Top

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. --- For questions see the county clerk.

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. --- For questions see the county clerk.

Vermont

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 town clerk.

Virginia

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.


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. --- For questions see the clerk of the municipal court.

Top

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. --- For questions see the county auditor.

Washington, D.C.

Ordained ministers of the gospel may perform marriages. --- Marriage licenses are addressed to the minister who will perform the ceremony. The minister must complete a marriage certificate for the bride and for the groom and return another certificate to the clerk of the District of Columbia Court of General Sessions within 10 days after the marriage. --- For questions see the clerk of the Court of General Sessions.

If a member of your "religious society" is already registered as a minister qualified to perform weddings, you fill out an application, get the already-registered person to sign as "endorser", pay $35, and you're in. Application is available by fax-back from 202-879-4840.

If your "society" does not already have a minister registered in DC, then you have to assemble (I'm summarizing from the official information handout):

"The following documentation has been found by many judges of this court to be sufficient evidence of affiliation with a religious society to support the granting of an authorization to perform marriage ceremonies in the District of Columbia."

A certificate from the headquarters of the religious body showing that you are a minister

A copy of the charter of the society and a copy of the applicant's ordination

An affidavit from the applicant giving details on how long he has been a minister, where and how often he conducts religious meetings, the congregation size, whether or not he is a full-time minister, etc.

An endorsement from a "reputable" citizen of DC saying that the applicant is known as a religious minister and is a person of good moral character.

"If any of the above documentation cannot be produced, it would be helpful to the Court's determination to produce a written explanation of that omission." Oh, and everything must be either "certified or notarized".

Official Information:
For more information, you can call (202) 879-4850.

West Virginia

New Law Passed in 2002!

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
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.

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.
This info from WV Secretary of State Website

Wisconsin

Any ordained clergyman of any religious denomination or society may perform marriages. WI no longer requires ministers to register in advance of a wedding, but you must be ordained or licensed or the marriage is not legal. The bride and groom will bring you an envelope with the marriage license. Fill out the portion set aside for the minister putting the name of your church (our church name is fine) and date of ordination and non-denominational if it asks your denomination. Follow the instructions in the envelope where to send the completed marriage license. It must be returned to the Register of Deeds Office of the county in which the marriage was performed. This must be done within 3 days after the marriage.

For questions call the County Clerk's Office. Here is Milwaukee County Clerk's Office number. I called them on 6-2-2009. (414) 278-4067

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. -- - For questions see the county clerk.

TopHome | Site Directory | Back to FAQ



Home | Site Map | Religious Doctorate Degrees | Become An Ordained Minister | Practitioners Directory |
Products & Services
| Bookshop | Esoteric Mystery School | Homestudy Courses | Esoteric Marketplace
Mary Magdalene | Knights Templar | Divine Feminine | Contact Us | Esoteric Christianity Blog

All material on this Website is Copyrighted © 1999 - PRESENT by the Esoteric Interfaith Church, Inc..
All rights reserved. Reproduction without written permission is prohibited.