(Closed) Getting around PA’s tricky marriage laws.

posted 8 years ago in Ceremony
Post # 3
852 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

wow – that actually sounds REALLY cool. way better than having some random stranger marry you!

Post # 4
149 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

I am glad you found a way around it! That is awesome you are able to have your best friend involved that way! FI and I live in PA also and I feel like I need to start reading up on the process! lol

Post # 5
5497 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

That sounds so awesome! Way to find a compromise! = ) Not only do you save money, it will have more meaning!

Post # 6
3316 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

I have advised many couples about that provision of PA law.  Using someone ordained online is often a total crap shoot.  See this New York Times article.  Where there is any legal alternative (e.g., PA’s self-uniting marriage, MA’s officiant for a day program, TX’s “informal marriage” procedures), it tends to be a much safer alternative.

Post # 8
459 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2010

I have had friends in Pennsylvania who are not Quaker/members of the Baha’i faith/ etc be denied a self-uniting license (in Allegheny county after that 2007 legal decision, no less!), and know others who do not belong to a “no-leader” kind of faith who had no trouble. It looks like you’ll be okay since you checked and you belong to a faith that is covered, but it drives me batty that the rules aren’t interpreted consistently depending on where you go to file for your license!

I got married in DC, which also does not accept people who were ordained online as officiants. It definitely made me mad that we had to essentially get married at the courthouse or find someone affiliated with a religion to perform the ceremony. If civil marriage is a contract between you and the state, shouldn’t you and a representative from the state signing the forms be enough? Why should you be legally required to have a ceremony, even?

We ultimately found an ethical humanist leader to perform our ceremony, which was great and in line with our beliefs. I did not like being forced to find a stranger to perform the ceremony, though. It just makes no sense for the state to require you to do something (have someone else officiate your wedding) that has transparently religious origins.

End rant!

Post # 9
435 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

I JUST read that law in PA about internet ordained… I am glad I read it, because we live in PA and are also being married here. We ended up just paying someone from a congregration-expensive but worth it

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