Post # 1
I wanted my best friend to marry us. We were going to have him ordained, but I recently found out that PA will not honor those who are married by a “officiant” that got their certificate onlline. They must have a regular congregation and all this other crap. UGH! Way to go Commonwealth. I know it’s just so that people have to spend hundreds of dollars to get a JOP.
Well! PA has a self-uniting marriage lic. After about an hour of reading, I found out that we would qualify. I am a member of a Buddhist sect and we have no “priest” that leads us. I have also studied in the Baha’i faith. So yay! My friend can still read the ceremony, but we will actually be marrying ourselves. I checked with the county clerk and this would be allowed. Such relief! I almost cried thinking about having to spend that kind of money on a JOP.
Post # 3
wow – that actually sounds REALLY cool. way better than having some random stranger marry you!
Post # 4
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
That sounds so awesome! Way to find a compromise! = ) Not only do you save money, it will have more meaning!
Post # 6
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 # 7
@2dBride: Even when I read the self uniting law in PA, I thought it was too good to be true. I kept reading it was only for Quakers or Amish people. Then I found out in 2007 a judge in PA granted that license to a secular couple that originally got denied in Allegheny Country (where I live) Then I came across that people of the Baha’i faith can also qualify. Well, Baha’i and Buddhism share some of the same beliefs. I seriously could not dial the country clerk fast enough. I asked her about 10 times if she was sure that we could do this. lol Hopefully PA will not change their laws by 2012.
Post # 8
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.
Post # 9
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