The $25 might be the easy part...
April 20, 2006 7:38 AM   Subscribe

What is involved in, or how would you write, "a letter of reference stating the applicant's high standard of character"?
posted by NotMyselfRightNow to Law & Government (7 answers total)
i've had to write these sorts of letters for my students sometimes. generally, i tell a specific story about how the person conducted herself through an ethical dilemma (fortunately, this comes up periodically in academic and legal settings) or how that person particularly responded to a specific capital-D duty.

if i don't have that sort of biographical detail to draw on, the other option is a discussion of the usual civic indicators of good character: no difficulties with the law, strong affiliation with a religious institution, demonstrated dedication to volunteer work, never late in debt repayment. just stuff that says "i was in a position of authority over this applicant and she was clear, tidy, respectable and trustworthy to the extent that i saw."
posted by crush-onastick at 7:52 AM on April 20, 2006

You write a letter stating 'The applicant has a high standard of character'. Not being funny. Explain what this means to avoid it only having one sentence. "In my dealings with him/her I have found him/her truthful at all times, reliable, professionally ethical etc etc etc.

The answer is in the question.
posted by unSane at 7:56 AM on April 20, 2006

I'm going to agree with unSane- for this type of thing, it sounds like it's a binary check (someone other than the people getting married wrote a letter of recommendation that basically says the person has a high standard of character). I can't imagine they're going to judge the merit of the letter for this type of thing.

crush-onastick's advice is good for a more serious letter, such as an employer or something where the content of the letter is likely to be considered.
posted by JMOZ at 8:04 AM on April 20, 2006

I'm sorry to not answer your question directly, but you should know that this process is totally unnecessary in MA. You can go to a website like The Universal Life Church, become a member of the clergy in a matter of minutes (and for no money), and be thus qualified to solemnize a marriage in MA.
posted by rxrfrx at 8:26 AM on April 20, 2006

unSane's approach is sufficient in most contexts. If you want to be extra careful, you might call the number listed on the webpage to verify that this is all you need.
posted by brain_drain at 8:35 AM on April 20, 2006

Thanks everyone.

rxrfrx, thanks for the ULC idea. I had been batting it around earlier, and never did anything. I just jumped onto their site thinking it was going to be a joke. Five minutes later, I realized I agreed with them more than I do with the religion I was raised on. Hmmm...
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 9:34 AM on April 20, 2006

NMRN, the ULC itself might be some kind of joke, but the credential is legit enough to be OK for marriage in MA. I think there was a piece about this in the Wall Street Journal some years back.
posted by rxrfrx at 9:56 AM on April 20, 2006

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