Can I get married in Maryland if I am already married in another state?
February 26, 2014 12:51 PM   Subscribe

5 years ago, I married Mr. Librarypt. Then we moved. For our anniversary we want to go to the courthouse and get married in the state we're currently living in, Maryland. Is this legal in Maryland? I don't want to get fined or go to jail for trying to do a romantic thing. The google isn't helping me. Thanks!
posted by Librarypt to Law & Government (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You are already married in Maryland, so your question is somewhat non-sensical.

You may find that a judge will renew your vows for you (without marriage), but you can't get married again because there's no provision in the law for two marriages between the same two people.
posted by saeculorum at 12:57 PM on February 26, 2014

People often do another non-civic ceremony to celebrate or re-celebrate or remake the vows. But yeah, I wouldn't recommend confusing the heck out of some bureaucrat by marrying the same dude twice. In a row. With no separation or divorce between then and now.
posted by kalessin at 1:00 PM on February 26, 2014

You are already married in Maryland, so your question is somewhat non-sensical.

By "get married", I mean get another marriage license from this state when I already have one from another state. I know it is legal in some states, I am just trying to find out if it is legal in Maryland.
posted by Librarypt at 1:00 PM on February 26, 2014

If previously married you would need to provide information on your divorce to get another license.
posted by munchingzombie at 1:09 PM on February 26, 2014

Are you sure this is legal in some states? The IRS considers legal marriage and the murkiness of residency/marriage with more than one state seems like something they'd be against.

For instance, the IRS officially recognizes same-sex marriages for anyone who has a state-legal marriage regardless of same-sex marriage laws in the state where the couple
posted by Lesser Shrew at 1:11 PM on February 26, 2014

Since you "know" it is legal in other states, can you provide a link to some details about the thing you're talking about?

Because I'm pretty sure that the marriage from your previous state is equally applicable, in effect, binding, etc., in Maryland due to the Full Faith and Credit clause. By which I mean, I agree with saeculorum that you are already married in Maryland and no, you may not do it again. However a celebratory "renewal of vows" or similar, as others have mentioned, is pretty common and I'm sure it's available there and it might be what you're thinking of.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 1:12 PM on February 26, 2014 [4 favorites]

This is not legal in any state.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:16 PM on February 26, 2014 [10 favorites]

I say start doing all the forms necessary to get a license in Maryland. If they ask for stuff, give the info...if they don't ask, then don't tell.

DO NOT LIE or omit information they specifically ask for.

Who knows? Maybe because of some loophole, or maybe because of some administrative error (85% chance, straight off the bat with this kind of paperwork), you'll get to get married again.

You're not doing anything wrong unless you lie or omit information they ask for.

Good luck and tell me what happened!
posted by hal_c_on at 1:16 PM on February 26, 2014

no, you can't perform a second legal marriage to somebody you're already legally married to at the time, sorry.

what you can do is a formal re-recital of your vows in front of your family and friends. people do this all the time.
posted by bruce at 1:16 PM on February 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'd say no, and I've not heard that it's okay any in any other state.

While we made quite a day of getting our marriage license, the actual activity of it was pretty unromantic.

Besides, you'd need a ceremony and an officient to sign it and submit it to be filed to make it legal.

Just as you can only hold a driver's license from one state at a time...I'm thinking it's the same with Marriage Licenses.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:17 PM on February 26, 2014

Can you go to the courthourse and ask what you need to do?

Personally, I love this idea. Even if you just get married symbolically (using the courthouse as a venue), it's a neat way to celebrate. HuffPo article about a couple that gets married as a part of their travel adventure.
posted by mochapickle at 1:18 PM on February 26, 2014

You should ask the county circuit court clerk's office in the Maryland county you live in/want to be married in about the legality of this. There are phone numbers in the links.

Most people don't do this, but rather have a vow renewal ceremony instead, which can be as formal or wedding like or informal as you want. There are lots of people willing to officiate for vow renewals, both religious and non religious.
posted by gudrun at 1:21 PM on February 26, 2014

Here are the requirements for a MD marriage license.

Note the permissible marital statuses: single, divorced, widow, widower.

By all means, go to the courthouse and ask to have your vows renewed, which is nice. But you will not be able to get a license to be married under MD law. You are married already, and MD gives credit for the "foreign" (i.e., non MD) marriage.

Here's a relevant prior AskMe.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 1:22 PM on February 26, 2014

I'm quite surprised no one on AskMe has heard of this before.

@Joey Buttafoucault, here is an example from New York state:

Can my spouse and I get married in New York City if we already were married in another state or country?

Yes. You and your current spouse can get married again in New York even if you were previously married in another jurisdiction. If you bring an original or certified copy of your current marriage certificate when applying for a Marriage License here, you will not need to wait 24 hours and can hold your New York marriage ceremony right away. (Note: Under existing law, the State of New York recognizes valid marriages performed elsewhere, including same-sex marriage. If you have questions about whether to get married again in New York, please talk to a lawyer.)

Source: "Questions and Answers for Same-Sex Couples and All Those Who Wish to Marry Here"
posted by Librarypt at 1:22 PM on February 26, 2014

"Questions and Answers for Same-Sex Couples and All Those Who Wish to Marry Here"

I read this as meaning that the page itself contains answers for all couples, whether same-sex or opposite-sex. The specific passage you quote about getting married again, however, I read as only being relevant to same-sex couples in the present context of same-sex marriage not (yet) being recognized in all 50 states.
posted by scody at 1:28 PM on February 26, 2014 [3 favorites]

You have to put one of these options: Single, Divorced, Widow, or Widower, as your marital status on the form in Maryland.

Since "Married" isn't one of those options, then it looks like Maryland doesn't let currently married people remarry each other.

You could get divorced, and then on the day after the divorce is final, remarry each other. That might be less romantic, though.
posted by Bentobox Humperdinck at 1:29 PM on February 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

It looks like for Maryland you need to find out the information for the Circuit Court for the county in which you reside.
posted by kalessin at 1:30 PM on February 26, 2014

You actually can get married again in New York without divorcing-- there's a story about one couple here. ("Not only that, but two people who are currently married can get legally remarried in New York without divorcing—there’s actually a box to tick off for that.") So at least as of last October that was true. However, since they originally got married in Maryland and had a number of issues with it, I suspect Maryland is not on the list of states that allows this.
posted by jetlagaddict at 1:39 PM on February 26, 2014 [3 favorites]

This is not legal in any state.

This is simply not true; I've done it, although not in Maryland. Our second issued marriage license (issued in a different county than the first) merely had an annotation that the parties (us) were already married to one another. It most likely varies from county to county and state to state, but "the parties are already married to each other" is not necessarily a prohibition on a county issuing you a marriage license, although it might be.

Call the clerk of the county where you want to get married again and ask if they can issue a marriage license to you and your spouse. Or do what we did, go in to get a license and declare that you are already married to each other when you apply for the license.
posted by crush-onastick at 2:10 PM on February 26, 2014 [3 favorites]

I was married in California in a quiet ceremony, then in Washington for the family's benefit...both states issued marriage licenses. Now I'm wondering if my second marriage is even legal.
posted by OkTwigs at 6:32 PM on February 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

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