Jump directly to the content

Q&A: Is it Legal to Perform an Out-of-State Wedding?

A legal checklist every pastor should use with ceremonies in other states.

Q: I am an ordained minister in California, and have been asked to perform a marriage ceremony for a friend in Indiana. Am I legally qualified to do so?

A: This is a common question. Pastors often are asked to perform marriages in other states for friends and relatives. Many never consider the legal implications of such commitments until the deadline looms. By then, it may be too late to comply with applicable legal requirements, which leaves the couple in a precarious position.

Here is a checklist of items for pastors to consider as soon as they receive a request to perform an out-of-state marriage:

1. A pastor's legal authority to solemnize a marriage in another state will depend on the law of that state. The fact that the pastor is ordained does not necessarily empower him or her to perform a marriage in another state.

2. Many states have enacted laws that permit nonresident ministers to ...

Join now to access this member-only content

Become a Member

Already a member? for full access.

Related Topics:
Posted:
  • September 1, 2011

Related ResourcesVisit Store

12 Law & Tax Guidelines for New Ministers
12 Law & Tax Guidelines for New Ministers
Essential knowledge to ensure legal and financial clarity and integrity in ministry.
Church Issues: Same-Sex Marriage and Gender Identity
Church Issues: Same-Sex Marriage and Gender Identity
Richard Hammar reviews public accommodations laws.