Marriage form for denominations without clergy

Today I learned that the State of California has a form that denominations without clergy are supposed to use in recording a marriage.

According to the San Joaquin County website, "Members of a religious society or denomination not having clergy for the purpose of solemnizing the marriage must purchase a 'License and Certificate of Marriage for Denominations Not Having Clergy' (VS 115)."

This came courtesy the clerk of College Park Quarterly Meeting, forwarding on the hard-won wisdom of a Friend in Southern California who is getting married soon. Apparently the person he asked at his County Clerk/Recorder's office didn't know of any such thing, and he had to "make a major fuss" before they eventually did find it for him.

So, I thought I'd publish it here as a public service to unprogrammed Quakers in California, at least. Presumably some other states have such things as well.


kevin roberts said...

Hi Chris-
Here in Ohio you have to have a legally state-licensed individual perform all the marriages. Apparently all the priests have to buy one, too, or their marriages don't count.

The clerk of my meeting pointed out a while back that we've been getting away with not doing this for about the last hundred years. The county staffers roll their eyes at him when he drops off our paperwork, but they always let him go anyway.

In Christ,

Heather Madrone said...

Thanks for sharing this, Friend Chris. Santa Cruz Meeting has a marriage under care of the Meeting for the first time in a long while, and so we'll be needing to figure out how to do the paperwork.

I think, though, that, in the past, the Clerk has simply signed the state's marriage certificate. It's my understanding the we Friends abolished the laity, not the clergy.

Martin Kelley said...

Julie was living in relatively Quaker-free Vineland NJ when we went for the license for our first (Quaker) wedding. They didn't know what to make of our officiant-free claims and the secretary had to call someone they knew in a Philly suburb "they'll know that they do, there's more of those Quakers up there."

Martin @ Quaker Ranter

ps: when Julie backslid to the Catholics we had to get married again to be in their good graces (a once disownable offense for me to cooperate but hey I'm a nice guy).

Will T said...

Here in Massachusetts you can use the regular forms with some judicious crossing out and adding some appropriate alternate phraseology. In whatever state you are it is probably best to find someone who has done it before. An experienced meeting clerk (or former clerk) is likely to be at least as knowledgeable as the town clerk or county official. At least if you don't live somewhere where there are a lot of those Quakers.

Will T

Chris M. said...

Heather: Yes, very good point about abolishing the laity, not the clergy! However, the California State Code calls it out as "denominations without clergy," and for simplicity's sake I think we fit that definition.

Kevin, Will & Martin: Thank you for sharing your different experiences.