Key point 3-04. All states permit clergy to perform marriage ceremonies. However, some states permit only "ordained" or some other classification of clergy to perform marriage ceremonies. It is important for clergy to determine if they are legally authorized to perform marriages under applicable state law, and in addition to be aware of the legal qualifications for marriage and any license and reporting requirements prescribed by state law.
1. THE AUTHORITY OF MINISTERS TO PERFORM MARRIAGE CEREMONIES
A minister has the authority in all states to perform marriages. This authority is granted by state law. State laws vary widely in defining those clergy who are authorized to perform marriages. Some states require that the minister be ordained; others require that the minister be either licensed or ordained; and others omit any specific reference to either licensure or ordination.