US Marriage Laws Library

State Minister Licensing Laws

Alabama State Seal
Alabama
No Minister Registration Required

Persons Authorized to Solemnize Marriages

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

(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 shall 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.

Alaska State Seal
Alaska
Minister Licensing Required Statewide

Who May Solemnize

(a) Marriages may be solemnized

(1) by a minister, priest, or rabbi of any church or congregation in the state, or by a commissioned officer of the Salvation Army, or by the principal officer or elder of recognized churches or congregations that traditionally do not have regular ministers, priests, or rabbis, anywhere within the state;

(2) by a marriage commissioner or judicial officer of the state anywhere within the jurisdiction of the commissioner or officer; or

(3) before or in any religious organization or congregation according to the established ritual or form commonly practiced in the organization or congregation.

(b) This section may not be construed to waive the requirements for obtaining a marriage license.

Arizona State Seal
Arizona
No Minister Registration Required

Persons Authorized to Perform Marriage Ceremony; definition

A. The following are authorized to solemnize marriages between persons who are authorized to marry:

1. Duly licensed or ordained clergymen.
2. Judges of courts of record.
3. Municipal court judges.
4. Justices of the peace.
5. Justices of the United States supreme court.
6. Judges of courts of appeals, district courts and courts that are created by an act of Congress if the judges are entitled to hold office during good behavior.
7. Bankruptcy court and tax court judges.
8. United States magistrate judges.
9. Judges of the Arizona court of military appeals.

B. For the purposes of this section, “licensed or ordained clergymen” includes ministers, elders or other persons who by the customs, rules and regulations of a religious society or sect are authorized or permitted to solemnize marriages or to officiate at marriage ceremonies.

Arkansas State Seal
Arkansas
No Minister Registration Required

Persons Who May Solemnize Marriages

(a) For the purpose of being registered and perpetuating the evidence thereof, marriage shall be solemnized only by the following persons:

(1) The Governor;
(2) Any former justice of the Supreme Court;
(3) Any judges of the courts of record within this state, including any former judge of a court of record who served at least four (4) years or more;
(4) Any justice of the peace, including any former justice of the peace who served at least two (2) terms since the passage of Arkansas Constitution, Amendment 55;
(5) Any regularly ordained minister or priest of any religious sect or denomination;
(6) The mayor of any city or town;
(7) Any official appointed for that purpose by the quorum court of the county where the marriage is to be solemnized; or
(8) Any elected district court judge and any former municipal or district court judge who served at least four (4) years.

(b) (1) Marriages solemnized through the traditional rite of the Religious Society of Friends, more commonly known as Quakers, are recognized as valid to all intents and purposes the same as marriages otherwise contracted and solemnized in accordance with law.

(2) The functions, duties, and liabilities of a party solemnizing marriage, as set forth in the marriage laws of this state, in the case of marriages solemnized through the traditional marriage rite of the Religious Society of Friends shall be incumbent upon the clerk of the congregation or, in his or her absence, his or her duly designated alternate.

California State Seal
California
No Minister Registration Required

Persons Authorized to Solemnize Marriage

Although marriage is a personal relation arising out of a civil, and not a religious, contract, a marriage may be solemnized by any of the following who is 18 years of age or older:

(a) A priest, minister, rabbi, or authorized person of any religious denomination. A person authorized by this subdivision shall not be required to solemnize a marriage that is contrary to the tenets of his or her faith. Any refusal to solemnize a marriage under this subdivision, either by an individual or by a religious denomination, shall not affect the tax-exempt status of any entity.

(b) A judge or retired judge, commissioner of civil marriages or retired commissioner of civil marriages, commissioner or retired commissioner, or assistant commissioner of a court of record in this state.

(c) A judge or magistrate who has resigned from office.

(d) Any of the following judges or magistrates of the United States:
(1) A justice or retired justice of the United States Supreme Court.
(2) A judge or retired judge of a court of appeals, a district court, or a court created by an act of Congress the judges of which are entitled to hold office during good behavior.
(3) A judge or retired judge of a bankruptcy court or a tax court.
(4) A United States magistrate or retired magistrate.

(e) A legislator or constitutional officer of this state or a Member of Congress who represents a district within this state, while that person holds office.

Colorado State Seal
Colorado
No Minister Registration Required

Solemnization and Registration

(1) A marriage may be solemnized by a judge of a court, by a court magistrate, by a retired judge of a court, by a public official whose powers include solemnization of marriages, by the parties to the marriage, or in accordance with any mode of solemnization recognized by any religious denomination or Indian nation or tribe. Either the person solemnizing the marriage or, if no individual acting alone solemnized the marriage, a party to the marriage shall complete the marriage certificate form and forward it to the county clerk and recorder within sixty days after the solemnization. Any person who fails to forward the marriage certificate to the county clerk and recorder as required by this section shall be required to pay a late fee in an amount of not less than twenty dollars. An additional five-dollar late fee may be assessed for each additional day of failure to comply with the forwarding requirements of this subsection (1) up to a maximum of fifty dollars. For purposes of determining whether a late fee shall be assessed pursuant to this subsection (1), the date of forwarding shall be deemed to be the date of postmark.

(2) If a party to a marriage is unable to be present at the solemnization, such party may authorize in writing a third person to act as such party’s proxy. If the person solemnizing the marriage is satisfied that the absent party is unable to be present and has consented to the marriage, such person may solemnize the marriage by proxy. If such person is not satisfied, the parties may petition the district court for an order permitting the marriage to be solemnized by proxy.

(3) Upon receipt of the marriage certificate, the county clerk and recorder shall register the marriage.

Connecticut State Seal
Connecticut
Minister Licensing Required Statewide

Who may join persons in marriage. Penalty for unauthorized performance

(a) Persons authorized to solemnize marriages in this state include (1) all judges and retired judges, either elected or appointed, including federal judges and judges of other states who may legally join persons in marriage in their jurisdictions, (2) family support magistrates, state referees and justices of the peace who are appointed in Connecticut, and (3) all ordained or licensed members of the clergy, belonging to this state or any other state, as long as they continue in the work of the ministry. All marriages solemnized according to the forms and usages of any religious denomination in this state, including marriages witnessed by a duly constituted Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is, are valid. All marriages attempted to be celebrated by any other person are void.

(b) No public official legally authorized to issue marriage licenses may join persons in marriage under authority of a license issued by himself, or his assistant or deputy; nor may any such assistant or deputy join persons in marriage under authority of a license issued by such public official.

(c) Any person violating any provision of this section shall be fined not more than fifty dollars.

Delaware State Seal
Delaware
No Minister Registration Required

Solemnization of marriages; production of license; penalty; registration of persons authorized to solemnize marriages

(a) A clergyperson or minister of any religion, current and former Judges of this State’s Supreme Court, Superior Court, Family Court, Court of Chancery, Court of Common Pleas, Justice of the Peace Court, federal Judges, federal Magistrates, clerks of the peace of various counties and current and former judges from other jurisdictions with written authorization by the clerk of the peace from the county in Delaware where the ceremony is to be performed may solemnize marriages between persons who may lawfully enter into the matrimonial relation. The Clerk of the Peace in each county for good cause being shown may:

(1) Allow by written permit within that Clerk’s respective county, any duly sworn member of another state’s judiciary, to solemnize marriages in the State between persons who may lawfully enter into the matrimonial relation.

(2) Allow by written permit within that Clerk’s respective county, the Clerk of the Peace from another county within the State to solemnize marriages in the State between persons who may lawfully enter into the matrimonial relation.

Within the limits of any incorporated municipality, the Mayor thereof may solemnize marriages between persons who may lawfully enter into matrimonial relation. Marriages shall be solemnized in the presence of at least 2 reputable witnesses who shall sign the certificate of marriage as prescribed by this chapter. Marriages may also be solemnized or contracted according to the forms and usages of any religious society. No marriage shall be solemnized or contracted without the production of a license issued pursuant to this chapter.

(b) For purposes of this section, the words “resident of this State” shall include the son or daughter of a person who has been domiciled within the State for 1 year or more, notwithstanding the actual place of residence of the son or daughter immediately prior to the date of the marriage.

(c) In the case of absence or disability of the duly elected Clerk of the Peace, the chief deputy or, if there is no chief deputy, a deputy employed in the office of the Clerk of the Peace, shall be authorized to solemnize marriages.

(d) Whoever, not being authorized by this section, solemnizes a marriage, shall be fined $100, and in default of the payment of such fine shall be imprisoned not more than 30 days, and such marriage shall be void, unless it is in other respects lawful and is consummated with the full belief of either of the parties in its validity.

Florida State Seal
Florida
No Minister Registration Required

Persons Authorized to Solemnize Matrimony

(1)All regularly ordained ministers of the gospel or elders in communion with some church, or other ordained clergy, and all judicial officers, including retired judicial officers, clerks of the circuit courts, and notaries public of this state may solemnize the rights of matrimonial contract, under the regulations prescribed by law. Nothing in this section shall make invalid a marriage which was solemnized by any member of the clergy, or as otherwise provided by law prior to July 1, 1978.

(2)Any marriage which may be had and solemnized among the people called “Quakers,” or “Friends,” in the manner and form used or practiced in their societies, according to their rites and ceremonies, shall be good and valid in law; and wherever the words “minister” and “elder” are used in this chapter, they shall be held to include all of the persons connected with the Society of Friends, or Quakers, who perform or have charge of the marriage ceremony according to their rites and ceremonies.

Georgia State Seal
Georgia
No Minister Registration Required

Effect on Marriage of want of Authority in Person Officiating

A marriage which is valid in other respects and supposed by the parties to be valid shall not be affected by want of authority in the minister, Governor or any former Governor of this state, judge, city recorder, magistrate, or other person to solemnize the same; nor shall such objection be heard from one party who has fraudulently induced the other to believe that the marriage was legal.

Idaho State Seal
Idaho
Minister Licensing Required in Select Locations

By Whom Solemnized

Marriage may be solemnized by any of the following Idaho officials: a current or retired justice of the supreme court, a current or retired court of appeals judge, a current or retired district judge, the current or a former governor, the current lieutenant governor, a current or retired magistrate of the district court, a current mayor or by any of the following: a current federal judge, a current tribal judge of an Idaho Indian tribe or other tribal official approved by an official act of an Idaho Indian tribe or priest or minister of the gospel of any denomination. To be a retired justice of the supreme court, court of appeals judge, district judge or magistrate judge of the district court, for the purpose of solemnizing marriages, a person shall have served in one (1) of those offices and shall be receiving a retirement benefit from either the judges retirement system or the public employee retirement system for service in the Idaho judiciary.

Iowa State Seal
Iowa
No Minister Registration Required

Who may solemnize

1. A judge of the supreme court, court of appeals, or district court, including a district associate judge, associate juvenile judge, or a judicial magistrate, and including a senior judge as defined in section 602.9202, subsection 3.

2. A person ordained or designated as a leader of the person’s religious faith.

Kansas State Seal
Kansas
No Minister Registration Required

Solemnizing Marriage; Persons Authorized to Officiate

(a) Marriage may be validly solemnized and contracted in this state, after a license has been issued for the marriage, in the following manner: By the mutual declarations of the two parties to be joined in marriage, made before an authorized officiating person and in the presence of at least two competent witnesses over 18 years of age, other than the officiating person, that they take each other as husband and wife.

(b) The following are authorized to be officiating persons:

(1) Any currently ordained clergyman or religious authority of any religious denomination or society;
(2) any licentiate of a denominational body or an appointee of any bishop serving as the regular clergyman of any church of the denomination to which the licentiate or appointee belongs, if not restrained from so doing by the discipline of that church or denomination;
(3) any judge or justice of a court of record;
(4) any municipal judge of a city of this state; and
(5) any retired judge or justice of a court of record.

(c) The two 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 belong, may be married without an authorized officiating person.

Kentucky State Seal
Kentucky
Minister Licensing Required in Select Locations

Who May Solemnize Marriage — Persons Present

(1) Marriage shall be solemnized only by:

(a) Ministers of the gospel or priests of any denomination in regular communion with any religious society;
(b) 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 judges/executive, and such justices of the peace and fiscal court commissioners as the Governor or the county judge/executive authorizes; or
(c) A religious society that has no officiating minister or priest and whose usage is to solemnize marriage at the usual place of worship and by consent given in the presence of the society, if either party belongs to the society.

(2) At least two (2) persons, in addition to the parties and the person solemnizing the marriage, shall be present at every marriage.

Louisiana State Seal
Louisiana
Minister Licensing Required in Select Locations

Officiant other than Judge; Registration

An officiant, other than a judge or justice of the peace, may perform marriage ceremonies only after he registers to do so by depositing with the clerk of court of the parish in which he will principally perform marriage ceremonies, or, in the case of Orleans Parish, with the office of the state registrar of vital records, an affidavit stating his lawful name, denomination, and address.

Maine State Seal
Maine
No Minister Registration Required

Authorization; penalties

1. Persons authorized to solemnize marriages. The following may solemnize marriages in this State:
A. If a resident of this State:
(1) A justice or judge;
(2) A lawyer admitted to the Maine Bar; or
(4) A notary public under Title 4, chapter 19; and [2001, c. 574, §6 (AMD).]
B. Whether a resident or nonresident of this State and whether or not a citizen of the United States:
(1) An ordained minister of the gospel;
(2) A cleric engaged in the service of the religious body to which the cleric belongs; or
(3) A person licensed to preach by an association of ministers, religious seminary or ecclesiastical body. [1995, c. 694, Pt. B, §2 (NEW); 1995, c. 694, Pt. E, §2 (AFF).]
[ 2001, c. 574, §6 (AMD) .]
2. Enforcement. The State Registrar of Vital Statistics shall enforce this section as far as it comes within the state registrar’s power and shall notify the district attorney of the county in which the penalty should be enforced of the facts that have come to the state registrar’s knowledge. Upon receipt of this notice, the district attorney shall prosecute the person who violated this section.
[ 1995, c. 694, Pt. B, §2 (NEW); 1995, c. 694, Pt. E, §2 (AFF) .]

Maryland State Seal
Maryland
No Minister Registration Required

Performance of ceremony

(a) Authorized officials.-

(1) In this subsection, “judge” means:

(i) a judge of the District Court, a circuit court, the Court of Special Appeals, or the Court of Appeals;

(ii) a judge approved under Article IV, § 3A of the Maryland Constitution and § 1-302 of the Courts Article for recall and assignment to the District Court, a circuit court, the Court of Special Appeals, or the Court of Appeals;

(iii) a judge of a United States District Court, a United States Court of Appeals, or the United States Tax Court; or

(iv) a judge of a state court if the judge is active or retired but eligible for recall.

(2) A marriage ceremony may be performed in this State by:

(i) any official of a religious order or body authorized by the rules and customs of that order or body to perform a marriage ceremony;

(ii) any clerk;

(iii) any deputy clerk designated by the county administrative judge of the circuit court for the county; or

(iv) a judge.

(b) Period during which ceremony may be performed.- Within 6 months after a license becomes effective, any authorized official may perform the marriage ceremony of the individuals named in the license.

(c) Performance by unauthorized individual prohibited; penalty.-

(1) An individual may not perform a marriage ceremony unless the individual is authorized to perform a marriage ceremony under subsection (a) of this section.

(2) An individual who violates this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine of $500.

(d) Performance between individuals within prohibited degrees prohibited; penalty.-

(1) An individual may not knowingly perform a marriage ceremony between individuals who are prohibited from marrying under § 2-202 of this title.

(2) An individual who violates the provisions of this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine of $500.

(e) Performance without license prohibited; penalty.-

(1) An individual may not perform a marriage ceremony without a license that is effective under this subtitle.

(2) An individual who violates the provisions of this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine not exceeding $500.

(f) Ceremony performed by a clerk or deputy clerk.- The county administrative judge of the circuit court for the county shall designate:

(1) when and where the clerk or deputy clerk may perform a marriage ceremony; and

(2) the form of the marriage ceremony to be recited by the clerk or deputy clerk and the parties being married.

(g) Forms of religious ceremonies.- This section does not affect the right of any religious denomination to perform a marriage ceremony in accordance with the rules and customs of the denomination.

Massachusetts State Seal
Massachusetts
Minister Licensing Required Statewide

Situs; persons authorized

A marriage may be solemnized in any place within the commonwealth by the following persons who are residents of the commonwealth: a duly ordained minister of the gospel in good and regular standing with his church or denomination, including an ordained deacon in The United Methodist Church or in the Roman Catholic Church; a commissioned cantor or duly ordained rabbi of the Jewish faith; by a justice of the peace if he is also clerk or assistant clerk of a city or town, or a registrar or assistant registrar, or a clerk or assistant clerk of a court or a clerk or assistant clerk of the senate or house of representatives, by a justice of the peace if he has been designated as provided in the following section and has received a certificate of designation and has qualified thereunder; an authorized representative of a Spiritual Assembly of the Baha?is in accordance with the usage of their community; a priest or minister of the Buddhist religion; a minister in fellowship with the Unitarian Universalist Association and ordained by a local church; a leader of an Ethical Culture Society which is duly established in the commonwealth and recognized by the American Ethical Union and who is duly appointed and in good and regular standing with the American Ethical Union; the Imam of the Orthodox Islamic religion; and, it may be solemnized in a regular or special meeting for worship conducted by or under the oversight of a Friends or Quaker Monthly Meeting in accordance with the usage of their Society; and, it may be solemnized by a duly ordained nonresident minister of the gospel if he is a pastor of a church or denomination duly established in the commonwealth and who is in good and regular standing as a minister of such church or denomination, including an ordained deacon in The United Methodist Church or in the Roman Catholic Church; and, it may be solemnized according to the usage of any other church or religious organization which shall have complied with the provisions of the second paragraph of this section.

Churches and other religious organizations shall file in the office of the state secretary information relating to persons recognized or licensed as aforesaid, and relating to usages of such organizations, in such form and at such times as the secretary may require.

Michigan State Seal
Michigan
No Minister Registration Required

Persons Authorized to Solemnize Marriage

(1) Marriages may be solemnized by any of the following:

(a) A judge of the district court, in the district in which the judge is serving.

(b) A district court magistrate, in the district in which the magistrate serves.

(c) A municipal judge, in the city in which the judge is serving or in a township over which a municipal court has jurisdiction under section 9928 of the revised judicature act of 1961, 1961 PA 236, MCL 600.9928.

(d) A judge of probate, in the county or probate court district in which the judge is serving.

(e) A judge of a federal court.

(f) A mayor of a city, anywhere in a county in which that city is located.

(g) A county clerk in the county in which the clerk serves, or in another county with the written authorization of the clerk of the other county.

(h) For a county having more than 2,000,000 inhabitants, an employee of the county clerk’s office designated by the county clerk, in the county in which the clerk serves.

(i) A minister of the gospel or cleric or religious practitioner, anywhere in the state, if the minister or cleric or religious practitioner is ordained or authorized to solemnize marriages according to the usages of the denomination.

(j) A minister of the gospel or cleric or religious practitioner, anywhere in the state, if the minister or cleric or religious practitioner is not a resident of this state but is authorized to solemnize marriages under the laws of the state in which the minister or cleric or religious practitioner resides.

(2) A person authorized by this act to solemnize a marriage shall keep proper records and make returns as required by section 4 of 1887 PA 128, MCL 551.104.

(3) If a mayor of a city solemnizes a marriage, the mayor shall charge and collect a fee to be determined by the council of that city, which shall be paid to the city treasurer and deposited in the general fund of the city at the end of the month.

(4) If the county clerk or, in a county having more than 2,000,000 inhabitants, an employee of the clerk’s office designated by the county clerk solemnizes a marriage, the county clerk shall charge and collect a fee to be determined by the commissioners of the county in which the clerk serves. The fee shall be paid to the treasurer for the county in which the clerk serves and deposited in the general fund of that county at the end of the month.

Minnesota State Seal
Minnesota
Minister Licensing Required Statewide

Persons Authorized To Perform Marriages

Marriages may be solemnized throughout the state by an individual who has attained the age of 21 years and is a judge of a court of record, a retired judge of a court of record, a court administrator, a retired court administrator with the approval of the chief judge of the judicial district, a former court commissioner who is employed by the court system or is acting pursuant to an order of the chief judge of the commissioner’s judicial district, the residential school administrators of the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf and the Minnesota State Academy for the Blind, a licensed or ordained minister of any religious denomination, or by any mode recognized in section 517.18.

Mississippi State Seal
Mississippi
Minister Licensing Required in Select Locations

By whom marriages may be solemnized.

Any minister of the gospel ordained according to the rules of his church or society, in good standing; any Rabbi or other spiritual leader of any other religious body authorized under the rules of such religious body to solemnize rites of matrimony and being in good standing; any judge of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, circuit court, chancery court or county court may solemnize the rites of matrimony between any persons anywhere within this state who shall produce a license granted as herein directed. Justice court judges and members of the boards of supervisors may likewise solemnize the rites of matrimony within their respective counties. Any marriages performed by a mayor of a municipality prior to March 14, 1994 are valid provided such marriages satisfy the requirements of Section 93-1-18.

Missouri State Seal
Missouri
Minister Licensing Required in Select Locations

Marriages solemnized by whom

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.

Montana State Seal
Montana
Minister Licensing Required in Select Locations

Solemnization and Registration

(1) A marriage may be solemnized by a judge of a court of record, by a public official whose powers include solemnization of marriages, by a mayor, city judge, or justice of the peace, by a tribal judge, or in accordance with any mode of solemnization recognized by any religious denomination, Indian nation or tribe, or native group. Either the person solemnizing the marriage or, if no individual acting alone solemnized the marriage, a party to the marriage shall complete the marriage certificate form and forward it to the clerk of the district court.

(2) If a party to a marriage is unable to be present at the solemnization, the party may authorize in writing a third person to act as proxy. If the person solemnizing the marriage is satisfied that the absent party is unable to be present and has consented to the marriage, the person may solemnize the marriage by proxy. If the person solemnizing the marriage is not satisfied, the parties may petition the district court for an order permitting the marriage to be solemnized by proxy.

(3) The solemnization of the marriage is not invalidated by the fact that the person solemnizing the marriage was not legally qualified to solemnize it if either party to the marriage believed that person to be qualified.

(4) One party to a proxy marriage must be a member of the armed forces of the United States on federal active duty or a resident of Montana at the time of application for a license and certificate pursuant to 40-1-202. One party or a legal representative shall appear before the clerk of court and pay the marriage license fee. For the purposes of this subsection, residency must be determined in accordance with 1-1-215.

Nebraska State Seal
Nebraska
No Minister Registration Required

Marriage Ceremony; Who May Perform; Return; Contents

Every judge, retired judge, clerk magistrate, or retired clerk magistrate, and every preacher of the gospel authorized by the usages of the church to which he or she belongs to solemnize marriages, may perform the marriage ceremony in this state. Every such person performing the marriage ceremony shall make a return of his or her proceedings in the premises, showing the names and residences of at least two witnesses who were present at such marriage. The return shall be made to the county clerk who issued the license within fifteen days after such marriage has been performed. The county clerk shall record the return or cause it to be recorded in the same book where the marriage license is recorded.

Nevada State Seal
Nevada
Minister Licensing Required Statewide

Certificates of Permission to Perform Marriages

1. Any licensed, ordained or appointed minister or other person authorized to solemnize a marriage in good standing within his or her church or religious organization, or either of them, incorporated, organized or established in this State, may join together as husband and wife persons who present a marriage license obtained from any county clerk of the State, if the minister or other person authorized to solemnize a marriage first obtains a certificate of permission to perform marriages as provided in NRS 122.062 to 122.073, inclusive. The fact that a minister or other person authorized to solemnize a marriage is retired does not disqualify him or her from obtaining a certificate of permission to perform marriages if, before retirement, the minister or other person authorized to solemnize a marriage had active charge of a church or religious organization for a period of at least 3 years.

2. A temporary replacement for a licensed, ordained or appointed minister or other person authorized to solemnize a marriage certified pursuant to NRS 122.062 to 122.073, inclusive, may solemnize marriages pursuant to subsection 1 during such time as he or she may be authorized to do so by the county clerk in the county in which he or she is a temporary replacement, for a period not to exceed 90 days. The minister or other person authorized to solemnize a marriage whom he or she temporarily replaces shall provide him or her with a written authorization which states the period during which it is effective.

3. Any chaplain who is assigned to duty in this State by the Armed Forces of the United States may solemnize marriages if the chaplain obtains a certificate of permission to perform marriages from the county clerk of the county in which his or her duty station is located. The county clerk shall issue such a certificate to a chaplain upon proof of his or her military status as a chaplain and of his or her assignment.

4. A county clerk may authorize a licensed, ordained or appointed minister or other person authorized to solemnize a marriage whose residence and church or religious organization is in another state or who is retired, if his or her service was as described in subsection 1, to perform marriages in the county if the county clerk is satisfied that the minister or other person authorized to solemnize a marriage is in good standing with his or her church or religious organization pursuant to this section. The authorization must be in writing and need not be filed with any other public officer. A separate authorization is required for each marriage performed. Such a minister or other person authorized to solemnize a marriage may perform not more than five marriages in this State in any calendar year and must acknowledge that he or she is subject to the jurisdiction of the county clerk with respect to the provisions of this chapter governing the conduct of ministers or other persons authorized to solemnize a marriage to the same extent as if he or she were a minister or other person authorized to solemnize a marriage residing in this State.

New Hampshire State Seal
New Hampshire
Minister Licensing Required Statewide

Solemnization of Marriage

A marriage may be solemnized in the following manner:

I. In a civil ceremony by a justice of the peace as commissioned by the state and by judges of the United States appointed pursuant to Article III of the United States Constitution, by bankruptcy judges appointed pursuant to Article I of the United States Constitution, or by United States magistrate judges appointed pursuant to federal law; or

II. In a religious ceremony by any minister of the gospel in the state who has been ordained according to the usage of his or her denomination, resides in the state, and is in regular standing with the denomination; by any member of the clergy who is not ordained but is engaged in the service of the religious body to which he or she belongs, and who resides in the state, after being licensed therefor by the secretary of state; or within his or her parish, by any minister residing out of the state, but having a pastoral charge wholly or partly in this state.

New York State Seal
New York
Minister Licensing Required in Select Locations

By whom a marriage must be solemnized

§ 11. By whom a marriage must be solemnized. No marriage shall be valid unless solemnized by either:

1. A clergyman or minister of any religion, or by the senior leader, or any of the other leaders, of The Society for Ethical Culture in the city of New York, having its principal office in the borough of Manhattan, or by the leader of The Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture, having its principal office in the borough of Brooklyn of the city of New York, or of the Westchester Ethical Society, having its principal office in Westchester county, or of the Ethical Culture Society of Long Island, having its principal office in Nassau county, or of the Riverdale-Yonkers Ethical Society having its principal office in Bronx county, or by the leader of any other Ethical Culture Society affiliated with the American Ethical Union.
2. A mayor of a village, a county executive of a county, or a mayor, recorder, city magistrate, police justice or police magistrate of a city, a former mayor or the city clerk of a city of the first class of over one million inhabitants or any of his or her deputies or not more than four regular clerks, designated by him or her for such purpose as provided in section eleven-a of this chapter, except that in cities which contain more than one hundred thousand and less than one million inhabitants, a marriage shall be solemnized by the mayor, or police justice, and by no other officer of such city, except as provided in subdivisions one and three of this section.
3. A judge of the federal circuit court of appeals for the second circuit, a judge of a federal district court for the northern, southern, eastern or western district of New York, a judge of the United States court of international trade, a federal administrative law judge presiding in this state, a justice or judge of a court of the unified court system, a housing judge of the civil court of the city of New York, a retired justice or judge of the unified court system or a retired housing judge of the civil court of the city of New York certified pursuant to paragraph (k) of subdivision two of section two hundred twelve of the judiciary law, the clerk of the appellate division of the supreme court in each judicial department, a retired city clerk who served for more than ten years in such capacity in a city having a population of one million or more or a county clerk of a county wholly within cities having a population of one million or more; or,
4. A written contract of marriage signed by both parties and at least two witnesses, all of whom shall subscribe the same within this state, stating the place of residence of each of the parties and witnesses and the date and place of marriage, and acknowledged before a judge of a court of record of this state by the parties and witnesses in the manner required for the acknowledgment of a conveyance of real estate to entitle the same to be recorded.
5. Notwithstanding any other provision of this article, where either or both of the parties is under the age of eighteen years a marriage shall be solemnized only by those authorized in subdivision one of this section or by (1) the mayor of a city or village, or county executive of a county, or by (2) a judge of the federal circuit court of appeals for the second circuit, a judge of a federal district court for the northern, southern, eastern or western district of New York, a judge of the United States court of international trade, or a justice or a judge of a court of the unified court system, or by (3) a housing judge of the civil court of the city of New York, or by (4) a former mayor or the clerk of a city of the first class of over one million inhabitants or any of his or her deputies designated by him or her for such purposes as provided in section eleven-a of this chapter.
6. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this article to the contrary no marriage shall be solemnized by a public officer specified in this section, other than a judge of a federal district court for the northern, southern, eastern or western district of New York, a judge of the United States court of international trade, a federal administrative law judge presiding in this state, a judge or justice of the unified court system of this State, a housing judge of the civil court of the city of New York, or a retired judge or justice of the unified court system or a retired housing judge of the civil court certified pursuant to paragraph (k) of subdivision two of section two hundred twelve of the judiciary law, outside the territorial jurisdiction in which he or she was elected or appointed. Such a public officer, however, elected or appointed within the city of New York may solemnize a marriage anywhere within such city.
7. The term “clergyman” or “minister” when used in this article, shall include those defined in section two of the religious corporations law. The word “magistrate, ” when so used, includes any person referred to in the second or third subdivision.

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North Carolina
Minister Licensing Required in Select Locations

Requisites of marriage; solemnization

A valid and sufficient marriage is created by the consent of a male and female person who may lawfully marry, presently to take each other as husband and wife, freely, seriously and plainly expressed by each in the presence of the other, either:

(1) a. In the presence of an ordained minister of any religious denomination, a minister authorized by a church, or a magistrate; and
b. With the consequent declaration by the minister or magistrate that the persons are husband and wife; or

(2) In accordance with any mode of solemnization recognized by any religious denomination, or federally or State recognized Indian Nation or Tribe.
Marriages solemnized before March 9, 1909, by ministers of the gospel licensed, but not ordained, are validated from their consummation.

North Dakota State Seal
North Dakota
Minister Licensing Required in Select Locations

Who May Solemnize Marriages

Marriages may be solemnized by all judges of courts of record; municipal judges; recorders, unless the board of county commissioners designates a different official; ordained ministers of the gospel; priests; clergy licensed by recognized denominations pursuant to chapter 10-33; and by any person authorized by the rituals and practices of any religious persuasion.

Ohio State Seal
Ohio
Minister Licensing Required Statewide

Who May Solemnize Marriages

An ordained or licensed minister of any religious society or congregation within this state who is licensed to solemnize marriages, a judge of a county court in accordance with section 1907.18 of the Revised Code, a judge of a municipal court in accordance with section 1901.14 of the Revised Code, a probate judge in accordance with section 2101.27 of the Revised Code, the mayor of a municipal corporation in any county in which such municipal corporation wholly or partly lies, the superintendent of the state school for the deaf, or any religious society in conformity with the rules of its church, may join together as husband and wife any persons who are not prohibited by law from being joined in marriage.

Oklahoma State Seal
Oklahoma
Minister Licensing Required Statewide

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 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 or she belongs to preach the Gospel, or a rabbi and who is at least eighteen (18) years of age.

B. 1. The judge shall place his or her order of appointment on file with the office of the court clerk of the county in which he or she resides.

2. 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 or she resides, a copy of the credentials or authority from his or her church or synagogue authorizing him or her to solemnize marriages.

3. 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 or she is a resident, shall have filed once, in the office of the court clerk of the county in which he or she intends to perform or solemnize a marriage, a copy of the credentials or authority from his or her church or synagogue authorizing him or her to solemnize marriages.

4. The filing by resident or nonresident preachers, ministers, priests, rabbis, ecclesiastical dignitaries or judges shall be effective in and for all counties of this state; provided, no fee shall be charged for such recording.

C. No person herein authorized to perform or solemnize a marriage ceremony shall do so unless the license issued therefor be first delivered into his or her possession nor unless he or she has good reason to believe the persons presenting themselves before him or her for marriage are the identical persons named in the license, and for whose marriage the same was issued, and that there is no legal objection or impediment to such marriage.

Oregon State Seal
Oregon
No Minister Registration Required

Who May Solemnize Marriage; Fee; Personal Payment; Records

(1) As used in this section, “judicial officer” means:
(a) A judicial officer of this state as that term is defined in ORS 1.210 and includes but is not limited to a judge of a municipal court and a justice of the peace.
(b) An active judge of a federal court.
(c) An active United States magistrate judge.
(2) Marriages may be solemnized by:
(a) A judicial officer;
(b) A county clerk;
(c) Religious congregations or organizations as indicated in ORS 106.150 (2); or
(d) A clergyperson of any religious congregation or organization who is authorized by the congregation or organization to solemnize marriages.
(3) A person authorized to solemnize marriages under subsection (2) of this section may solemnize a marriage anywhere in this state.
(4)(a) When a marriage is solemnized by a tax, appellate or circuit judge of this state, the clerk of the court or the county clerk shall collect a fee of $25 and deposit the fee in the Judicial Department Operating Account established in ORS 1.009.
(b) When a marriage is solemnized by a county clerk, the county clerk shall collect a fee of $25, as provided in ORS 205.320.
(c) The fee described in this subsection may be collected only if:
(A) The marriage is solemnized during normal working hours, excluding holidays;
(B) The marriage is solemnized in court facilities or a county clerk’s office; or
(C) More than a minimal amount of staff time or other court or county clerk’s office resources are used in connection with the solemnization.
(d) The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court or the county clerk may establish a written procedure for waiver of the fee required under this subsection in exigent circumstances, including but not limited to indigency of the parties to the marriage.
(5) In addition to any fee collected under subsection (4) of this section, a judicial officer of this state and a county clerk may charge and accept an agreed upon personal payment not to exceed $100 plus actual costs for the solemnization of a marriage if that solemnization is performed:
(a) At a place other than the courthouse where the judicial officer or county clerk serves; or
(b) Outside of the judicial officer’s or county clerk’s normal working hours.
(6) The charging and accepting of a personal payment by a judicial officer of this state or a county clerk under subsection (5) of this section does not constitute a violation of any of the provisions of ORS chapter 244.
(7) The amount of actual costs charged by a judicial officer of this state or a county clerk under subsection (5) of this section may not exceed:
(a) Actual expenses for food and lodging as verified by receipts.
(b) If travel is made by personal vehicle, the actual number of round-trip miles from the judicial officer’s or county clerk’s home or office, whichever is greater, compensated at the rate of reimbursement then provided by the State of Oregon to its employees or, if travel is made by a commercial carrier, reimbursement shall be made of the actual costs thereof, verified by receipts.
(8) A judicial officer of this state or a county clerk shall maintain records of the amount of personal payments received for performing marriages, of actual costs and the supporting documentation related thereto for a period of four years.
(9) The parties to a marriage solemnized by a tax, appellate or circuit judge of this state shall show to the judge proof of payment of the fee required under subsection (4)(a) of this section before solemnization. Except as provided in subsection (4)(d) of this section, the judge may not solemnize a marriage without proof of payment of the fee.

Pennsylvania State Seal
Pennsylvania
Minister Licensing Required in Select Locations

Persons Qualified to Solemnize Marriages

(a) General rule.–The following are authorized to solemnize
marriages between persons that produce a marriage license issued
under this part:

(1) A justice, judge or magisterial district judge of
this Commonwealth.

(2) A former or retired justice, judge or magisterial
district judge of this Commonwealth who is serving as a
senior judge or senior magisterial district judge as provided
or prescribed by law; or not serving as a senior judge or
senior magisterial district judge but meets the following
criteria: (read the full law for details)

(6) 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 issued under this part.

Rhode Island State Seal
Rhode Island
No Minister Registration Required

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 traffic tribunal, the clerk of the supreme court, every clerk or general chief clerk of a superior court, family court, district court, or traffic tribunal, magistrates, special or general magistrates of the superior court, family court, traffic tribunal or district court, administrative clerks of the 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, the secretary of the senate, elected clerks of the general assembly, any former secretary of the senate or any former elected clerk of the general assembly who retires after July 1, 2007, judges of the United States appointed pursuant to Article III of the United States Constitution, bankruptcy judges appointed pursuant to Article I of the United States Constitution, and United States magistrate judges appointed pursuant to federal law, may join persons in marriage in any city or 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 and every former 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.

South Carolina State Seal
South Carolina
Minister Licensing Required in Select Locations

Persons Who May Perform Marriage Ceremony

Only ministers of the Gospel, Jewish rabbis, officers authorized to administer oaths in this State, and the chief or spiritual leader of a Native American Indian entity recognized by the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs pursuant to Section 1-31-40 are authorized to administer a marriage ceremony in this State.

South Dakota State Seal
South Dakota
Minister Licensing Required in Select Locations

Persons Authorized to Solemnize Marriages

Marriage may be solemnized by a justice of the Supreme Court, a judge of the circuit court, a magistrate, a mayor, either within or without the corporate limits of the municipality from which the mayor was elected, or any person authorized by a church to solemnize marriages.

Tennessee State Seal
Tennessee
Minister Licensing Required in Select Locations

Persons Who May Solemnize Marriages

(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, 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.

(click below to read the full code)

Vermont State Seal
Vermont
No Minister Registration Required

Persons Authorized to Solemnize Marriages

(a) Marriages may be solemnized by a supreme court justice, a superior judge, a judge of probate, an assistant judge, a justice of the peace, a magistrate, an individual who has registered as an officiant with the Vermont secretary of state pursuant to section 5144a of this title, a member of the clergy residing in this state and ordained or licensed, or otherwise regularly authorized thereunto by the published laws or discipline of the general conference, convention, or other authority of his or her faith or denomination, or by such a clergy person residing in an adjoining state or country, whose parish, church, temple, mosque, or other religious organization lies wholly or in part in this state, or by a member of the clergy residing in some other state of the United States or in the Dominion of Canada, provided he or she has first secured from the probate division of the superior court in the unit within which the marriage is to be solemnized a special authorization, authorizing him or her to certify the marriage if the probate judge determines that the circumstances make the special authorization desirable. Marriage among the Friends or Quakers, the Christadelphian Ecclesia, and the Baha’i Faith may be solemnized in the manner heretofore used in such societies.

(b) This section does not require a member of the clergy authorized to solemnize a marriage as set forth in subsection (a) of this section, nor societies of Friends or Quakers, the Christadelphian Ecclesia, or the Baha’i Faith to solemnize any marriage, and any refusal to do so shall not create any civil claim or cause of action.

Virginia State Seal
Virginia
Minister Licensing Required Statewide

Order authorizing ministers to perform ceremony

When a minister of any religious denomination shall produce before the circuit court of any county or city in this Commonwealth, or before the judge of such court or before the clerk of such court at any time, proof of his ordination and of his being in regular communion with the religious society of which he is a reputed member, or proof that he holds a local minister’s license and is serving as a regularly appointed pastor in his denomination, such court, or the judge thereof, or the clerk of such court at any time, may make an order authorizing such minister to celebrate the rites of matrimony in this Commonwealth. Any order made under this section may be rescinded at any time by the court or by the judge thereof.

Washington State Seal
Washington
No Minister Registration Required

Who may solemnize

The following named officers and persons, active or retired, are hereby authorized to solemnize marriages, to wit: Justices of the supreme court, judges of the court of appeals, judges of the superior courts, supreme court commissioners, court of appeals commissioners, superior court commissioners, any regularly licensed or ordained minister or any priest of any church or religious denomination, and judges of courts of limited jurisdiction as defined in RCW 3.02.010.

Washington DC State Seal
Washington DC
Minister Licensing Required

Persons authorized to celebrate marriages

(a) For the purposes of this section, the term:

(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.

(b) 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.

(c) No priest, imam, rabbi, minister, or other official of any religious society who is authorized to solemnize or celebrate marriages shall be required to solemnize or celebrate any marriage.

(d) Each religious society has exclusive control over its own theological doctrine, teachings, and beliefs regarding who may marry within that particular religious society’s faith.

(e)(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a religious society, or a nonprofit organization that is operated, supervised, or controlled by or in conjunction with a religious society, shall not be required to provide services, accommodations, facilities, or goods for a purpose related to the solemnization or celebration of a marriage, or the promotion of marriage through religious programs, counseling, courses, or retreats, that is in violation of the religious society’s beliefs.

(2) A refusal to provide services, accommodations, facilities, or goods in accordance with this subsection shall not create any civil claim or cause of action, or result in a District action to penalize or withhold benefits from the religious society or nonprofit organization that is operated, supervised, or controlled by or in conjunction with a religious society.

Wisconsin State Seal
Wisconsin
Minister Licensing Required Statewide

Marriage contract, how made; officiating person.

Marriage may be validly solemnized and contracted in this state only after a marriage license has been issued therefor, and only by the mutual declarations of the 2 parties to be joined in marriage that they 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:

(1) Any ordained member of the clergy of any religious denomination or society who continues to be an ordained member of the clergy.

(2) 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.

(3) 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.

(4) Any judge of a court of record or a reserve judge appointed under s. 753.075.

(5) Any circuit court commissioner appointed under SCR 75.02 (1) or supplemental court commissioner appointed under s. 757.675 (1).

(6) Any municipal court judge

Wyoming State Seal
Wyoming
Minister Licensing Required in Select Locations

Who May Solemnize Marriage; Form of Ceremony

(a) Every district or circuit court judge, district court commissioner, supreme court justice, magistrate and every licensed or ordained minister of the gospel, bishop, priest or rabbi, or other qualified person acting in accordance with the traditions or rites for the solemnization of marriage of any religion, denomination or religious society, may perform the ceremony of marriage in this state.

(b) In the solemnization of marriage no particular form is required, except that the parties shall solemnly declare in the presence of the person performing the ceremony and at least two (2) attending witnesses that they take each other as husband and wife.

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