I’m always amazed when hearing that a family “friend” went online to become ordained and failed to understand the ramifications of failing to understand that ignorance is never an adequate defense of the law.
Conducting marriage is ANY state is putting the online officiant at risk of numerous complications by their failure to understand that they are signing a legal instrument.
Marriage officiants have a responsibility that carries with it the ramifications of civil and criminal penalties for making a “mistake.”
Last week I was contacted by someone regarding a blog I wrote titled “Marriage Fraud is a $250k Crime.”
Asking why and how I knew so much about marriage laws, I told this interested writer that I take my position within Texas or any other state I conduct marriage within VERY SERIOUSLY for a number of reasons but, mainly in order to protect myself and my business.
Section 2.001 Marriage License (a) A man and a woman desiring to enter into a ceremonial marriage must obtain a marriage license from the county clerk of any county of this state. (B) a license may NOT be issued for the marriage of persons of the same sex. Added by Acts 1997, 75th Legislature Chapter 7, Section 1, Effective April 17, 1997.
It should be noted that I conduct commitment ceremonies for lgbt couples and also travel to other states in order to conduct legal marriages outside of Texas. I continue my fight to legalize same sex marriage in Texas for my friends and associates within the lgbt community and am a corporate sponsor to numerous civil rights organizations.
Section 2.202. Persons Authorized to Conduct Ceremony (a) The following persons are authorized to conduct a marriage ceremony:
(1) a licensed or ordained Christian minister or priest;
(2) a Jewish rabbi
(3) a person who is an officer of a religious organization and who is authorized by the organization to conduct a marriage ceremony;
(4) a Justice of the Supreme Court, the judge of the court of criminal appeals, Justice of the courts of appeals, judge of the district, county, probate courts, judge of the county courts of law, judge of the courts of domestic relations, judge of the juvenile courts, retired Justice or judge of those courts, Justice of the peace, retired Justice of the peace, judge of a municipal court, retired judge of a municipal court, or judge or magistrate of a federal court of this state; and
(5) a retired judge or magistrate of a federal court of this state.
(b) For the purposes of Subsection (a) (4), a retired judge or Justice is a former judge or Justice who is vested in the Judicial Retirement System Plan One or the Judicial Retirement System of Texas Plan Two or who had an aggregate of at least 12 years of service as a judge or Justice of any type listed in subsection (a) (4).
(b-1) For the purposes of Subsection (d), a retired judge or magistrate is a former judge or magistrate of the federal court of this state who is fully vested in the Federal Employees Retirement System under 28 U.S.C. Section 371 or 377.
(c) Except as provided by Subsection (d), a person commits an OFFENSE if the person KNOWINGLY conducts a marriage ceremony WITHOUT authorization under this section. An offense under this subsection is a Class A misdemeanor.
(d) A person commits an offense if the person KNOWINGLY conducts a marriage ceremony of a minor whose marriage is prohibited by law or of a person who by marrying commits an offense under Section 25.01, PENAL CODE. An offense under this subsection is a FELONY of the third degree.
So, you see that by failing to understand the ramifications of conducting a ceremony that falls under state and federal guidelines, the people “going online” are putting their freedom and future at risk by ignoring laws out in place.
Before you “ask a friend” to conduct your marriage ceremony, it might be a good idea to verify that they are legally capable of filing your wedding document aka legal document.
Reverend Wendy Wortham
The Pawning Planners