Online minister legit?
March 13, 2007 4:14 PM   Subscribe

What is the legitimacy of a minister ordained over the internet? Are they fully capable of performing legal marriages? A friend of mine is being married by another friend who was ordained at I just want to make sure that my friend actually ends up married. BTW this is in Texas.
posted by JakeLL to Law & Government (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The important thing is to get the marriage license from the government body.
posted by JayRwv at 4:31 PM on March 13, 2007

My wife and I were married by a friend who was ordained online through the Universal Life Church. We were in Minnesota but the procedure there was to go to the county headquarters and register one's credientials. After he did that there were no hiccups.
posted by lucasks at 4:32 PM on March 13, 2007

According to this site:

Persons authorized to perform weddings in Texas include licensed or ordained Christian ministers, priests, Jewish rabbis, officers authorized by religious organizations, justices of the supreme court, judges of the court of criminal appeals, justices of the courts of appeals, judges of the district, county, and probate courts, judges of the county courts at law, judges of the courts of domestic relations, judges of the juvenile courts, retired justices or judges, justices of the peace, retired justices of the peace, and judges or magistrates of a federal court of Texas.

Sounds to me like your friend qualifies, as long as they jump through all the other legal hoops correctly.
posted by chrisamiller at 4:33 PM on March 13, 2007

(I wasn't explicit about it in my post but as JayRwv mentions above, we then did have to get a marriage liscnce from the county he registered in)
posted by lucasks at 4:33 PM on March 13, 2007

It's all up to the state.

The ULC FAQ addresses this issue.

No proof seems to be required. Some states do require you to provide proof of ordination.

Read the law yourself if you like
posted by aubilenon at 4:35 PM on March 13, 2007

Much like lucasks, my wife and I were married by a close friend who became ordained through the Universal Life Church just so he could perform our wedding. I can't speak for Texas, but totally legal in Florida.
posted by Lokheed at 4:45 PM on March 13, 2007

It was totally legal here in Texas-- a buddy of mine got ordained via the ULC to do just this very thing.
posted by ShawnStruck at 4:57 PM on March 13, 2007

The last time I checked ( a couple years ago ), the law in TX could basically be boiled down to this: if one of the three people involved (groom + bride + officiant) believe it to be a real wedding, then it's a real wedding.

From aubilenon's link:

The validity of a marriage is not affected by the lack of authority of the person conducting the marriage ceremony least one party to the marriage participated in the ceremony in good faith and that party treats the marriage as valid...

So, knock yourself out!

-Reverend popechunk
posted by popechunk at 5:08 PM on March 13, 2007

Ask at your local circuit court office. In some states (i.e. Virginia, I am told), anyone (ordained or lay) can get a one-time permission to to perform a wedding.

By one-time, I mean you have to apply each time.
posted by 4ster at 5:43 PM on March 13, 2007

I don't remember the details (it's been a long, hard 6 years) but my wife and I were married in Texas with an unofficial officiant. No problems so far...
posted by nonmyopicdave at 6:53 PM on March 13, 2007

totally legit in CT too. we talked to all the officials that would know/rule on it, and were told its all good. the big thing is really the license being filed.

just talk to the town clerk, they should know, or at the least know who you need to talk to about it.
posted by teishu at 9:16 PM on March 13, 2007

Yep. Done it here in Michigan. I officiated my brother's wedding, then got drunk and filled out the marriage license wrong. They still took it.
posted by klangklangston at 9:23 PM on March 13, 2007

The man who performed my brother's wedding was ordained through Universal Life Church via mail (way before the internet). He used to tout his 10 for 10 (10 weddings, no divorces) record, but is now 12 for 15 I think. You should do it BUT REMEMBER TO GET A JUSTICE OF THE PEACE LICENSE!
posted by parmanparman at 5:28 AM on March 14, 2007

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