(Closed) Can friend be ordained in NYS?

posted 13 years ago in New York – Upstate NY
Post # 4
142 posts
Blushing bee

I just googled "new york state online minister marriage" and the first several links all answer your questions

 But to make your life easier, the answer is no.  NYS is pretty strict about such things.  No online ordinations, and no one day deputizations.  Information from here: http://www.health.state.ny.us/vital_records/married.htm

 Who can perform a marriage ceremony?

To be valid, a marriage ceremony must be performed by any of the individuals specified in Section 11 of the New York State Domestic Relations Law. These include:

  • the mayor of a city or village;
  • the former mayor, the city clerk or one of the deputy city clerks of a city of more than one million inhabitants;
  • a marriage officer appointed by the town or village board or the city common council;
  • a justice or judge of the following courts: the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Southern, Eastern or Western Districts of New York, the New York State Court of Appeals, the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court, the New York State Supreme Court, the Court of Claims, the Family Court, a Surrogates Court, the Civil and Criminal Courts of New York City (including Housing judges of the Civil Court) and other courts of record;
  • a village, town or county justice;
  • a member of the clergy or minister who has been officially ordained and granted authority to perform marriage ceremonies from a governing church body in accordance with the rules and regulations of the church body;
  • a member of the clergy or minister who is not authorized by a governing church body but who has been chosen by a spiritual group to preside over their spiritual affairs;
  • other officiants as specified by Section 11 of the Domestic Relations Law.

The person performing the ceremony must be registered with the City of New York in order to perform a ceremony within the New York City limits. The officiant does not have to be a resident of New York State. Ship captains are not authorized to perform marriage ceremonies in New York State.

Post # 5
1 posts
  • Wedding: April 2009

I have to disagree- not only because I’ve attended weddings in New York State officiated by those that have been ordained online, but I’m doing the same thing for my wedding! It is slightly more difficult to be recognized in New York City, but not impossible. And the rest of the state is fine with it.

The best way to find out for sure though is to contact the city or town clerk in the town where your ceremony will be performed. They will be able to tell you for sure (I swear, it’s legal though!). 

Post # 6
1929 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: February 2008

Its not legal in every city or town – they all have funny rules – so kellbell is right – check with the actual place you are getting married in!

Post # 7
32 posts
  • Wedding: October 2008

Peihan17 – I believe being ordained online falls under your 6th point.  These types of churches allow all members to be ordained.  Our friend has been ordained as a Spirtiual Humanist and I assure you it is legal.  Please see the ruling from the 1974 case of the Universal Life Church vs. The United States.  Particularly this passage –  <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 10pt">"Neither this Court, nor any branch of this Government, will consider the merits or fallacies of a religion. Nor will the Court compare the beliefs, dogmas, and practices of a newly organized religion with those of an older, more established religion. Nor will the Court praise or condemn a religion, however excellent or fanatical or preposterous it may seem. WERE THE COURT TO DO SO, IT WOULD IMPINGE UPON THE GUARANTEES OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT."

Post # 8
32 posts
  • Wedding: October 2008

sorry for the html… 

Post # 10
71 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2007 - Bride's family summer home in the Adirondacks

Yep, we did a Universal Life minister too – and they ARE officially ordained and authorized to perform weddings, so in most parts of NYS you should be good!  In NYC I think you have to get an additional form for them to complete (?) so you should check with your county regardless, but a ULC-ordained minister is still a minister!

Post # 11
7 posts
  • Wedding: May 2009

… Fiance and I wanted to have a friend do our ceremony – but looking into the facts further, although it appears that an online ordination will work… if the marriage was to fail, and you or your husband wanted to challenge the validity of the marriage, it could be seriously challenged. I know in Pennsylvania they overturned marriages as invalid due to online ordinations…

I would just play it safe and find an actual J.O.P. or minister to marry you….

Post # 12
32 posts
  • Wedding: October 2008

Sounds like some BS Lawyer got involved in that case.  Not really sure how you could challenge the validity when you have a marriage certificate signed by witnessing parties and have been living as if married…In the grand scheme of things, I feel that it will be a more personal and special ceremony having our dear friend officiating than if we were to have a total stranger.  I’m willing to take the risk…

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