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General Marriage Laws

ALABAMA

Any licensed minister of the gospel in regular communion with the Christian church or society of which he is a member may perform marriages. Also, marriages may be performed by the pastor of any 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

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. - -- For questions see the clerk of the Superior Court.

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

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.

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. --- For questions see the county clerk.

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 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. --- For questions see the county clerk.

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.

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.

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

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. --- For questions see the town clerk.

MARYLAND

Any minister of the gospel authorized by the rules and customs of their church may perform marriages. --- Minister 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. --- For questions see the clerk of the Court of Common Pleas.

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. --- For questions see the town clerk or registrar or write to the Secretary of State.

MICHIGAN

A minister of the gospel who is ordained or authorized by his or her church to perform marriages and who is a pastor of a church in this state, or continues to preach the gospel in this state may perform marriages. --- Ministers must complete a marriage certificate and give one to the couple. Another marriage 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 three months after the marriage. --- For questions see the clerk of the circuit court.

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 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.

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

Every minister of every religion may perform marriages. --- Ministers must complete a certificate of marriage and return it to the county clerk. --- For questions see 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. --- For questions see the county clerk.

NEW YORK

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

OHIO

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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. --- For questions see the clerk of the orphans' court.

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

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. --- For questions see the county judge of probate or his clerk.

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

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. ---For questions see the county clerk.

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

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 dollars. --- Ministers may receive a fee of no more than 10 dollars for performing a marriage. ---Ministers must complete the marriage certificate and return it to the clerk who issued the marriage license within five days after the marriage. --- For questions see the clerk of the county circuit court or the clerk of the corporation 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.

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.

WEST VIRGINIA

Any minister, priest or rabbi, over the age of eighteen years, may perform marriages. --- Before performing marriages, ministers must provide proof of their ordination to the clerk of any county court. The clerk will then provide the minister with an order authorizing them to perform marriages. --- Ministers must return the completed marriage license to the county clerk who issued it on or before the fifth day of the month following the marriage. --- For questions see the clerk of the county court.

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

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.

 

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