- Published: Tuesday, 14 August 2012 01:00
These days, a growing number of couples are opting out of traditional church weddings and are choosing instead to be married in less formal ceremonies, often presided over by a friend or relative rather than a priest or rabbi.
That’s fine if that’s what the couple wants – but the problem is that some such weddings might not be technically legal.
Typically, a valid marriage requires a license, witnesses, and solemnization by someone with the legal authority to do so. “Legal authority” is the problem. In many states, this means either a justice of the peace or a person who has been ordained by a recognized religion.
Many people believe that they can perform weddings if they’ve been ordained by the Universal Life Church, an Internet “religion” that has no particular belief system but that allows people to fill out an online form and quickly become “ordained.” The ULC’s website proudly touts that its “ministers” can perform weddings. But just because something appears on a website doesn’t mean it’s necessarily true.