Who can legally perform a marriage in Los Angeles County?
July 17, 2006 2:23 PM   Subscribe

Who can legally perform a marriage in Los Angeles County?

After 6+ years of unwedded bliss and living in sin, my baby momma and I have decided to get married. (Q: Are you in love? A: Off the record, yes. But officially, I did it for the money!)

We would like a friend to perform a civil ceremony. Los Angeles County has a program that "allows individuals to be deputized for a day to perform a wedding ceremony". However, one must apply for this 2 months in advance. Time is of the esssence for us, so this option is out.

This is where it gets interesting: California Family Code Section 400 states that a marriage may be "solemnized" by a "priest, minister, or rabbi of any religious denomination", among others. But the law further states that absolutely no proof of the officiants religious affiliation is necessary. Given the First Amendment, this is how it should be. So it seems that basically anyone could marry us. Just make up a "church" and declare youself a priest.

But then why does Section 400 go on to list all manner of judges and bureaucrats as legal "solemnizers"? Why bother to call them out? And moreso, why does the county offer the "deputizing" program if it is not strictly necessary? (Profit?)

Bottom line: Is it necessary to be "certified" in some way to perform a a marriage in Los Angeles County?

Bonus question: Doe anyone know of an organization that ordains Discordian priests? (Yeah, yeah, I know that "every single man, woman, and child on this Earth" is a Discordian pope, but sometimes it's nice to have an official looking piece of paper.)
posted by oncogenesis to Law & Government (4 answers total)
i am a ULC (Universal Life Church) minister, - i've married friends in california, and will be doing it again in august.
posted by modge at 2:25 PM on July 17, 2006

Getchyer Pope Card, right here.
posted by ikkyu2 at 2:35 PM on July 17, 2006

Yes, what modge said. We had one of our friends ordained online at the ULC-quick, easy, and legal!! It only takes a couple of minutes, and your "minister" can order a fancy document for his/her wall if they so desire. By the way, our "minister" is Jewish, as is my husband. And he's performing another marriage next year.
posted by annieb at 5:14 PM on July 17, 2006

I'm a ULC minister too, and have married couples in both California and Pennsylvania. It's better to just get ordained online, print out the certificate, and keep it just in case anyone asks for documentation.
posted by bedhead at 9:33 PM on July 17, 2006

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