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ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer
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Experience:  Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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I am ordained by an online church. Can I legally act as an

Customer Question

Hi,
I am ordained by an online church. Can I legally act as an officiant for a marriage in Marquette county, MI?
Submitted: 1 year ago via USmarriagelaws.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for using JustAnswer.

Yes. Michigan law requires only the following:

551.7 Persons authorized to solemnize marriage; records; returns; disposition of fees charged by mayor or county clerk.

...

Sec. 7.

(1) Marriages may be solemnized by any of the following:

(a) A judge of the district court, in the district in which the judge is serving.

(b) A district court magistrate, in the district in which the magistrate serves.

(c) A municipal judge, in the city in which the judge is serving or in a township over which a municipal court has jurisdiction under section 9928 of the revised judicature act of 1961, 1961 PA 236, MCL(###) ###-####

(d) A judge of probate, in the county or probate court district in which the judge is serving.

(e) A judge of a federal court.

(f) A mayor of a city, anywhere in a county in which that city is located.

(g) A county clerk in the county in which the clerk serves, or in another county with the written authorization of the clerk of the other county.

(h) For a county having more than 2,000,000 inhabitants, an employee of the county clerk's office designated by the county clerk, in the county in which the clerk serves.

(i) A minister of the gospel or cleric or religious practitioner, anywhere in the state, if the minister or cleric or religious practitioner is ordained or authorized to solemnize marriages according to the usages of the denomination.

(j) A minister of the gospel or cleric or religious practitioner, anywhere in the state, if the minister or cleric or religious practitioner is not a resident of this state but is authorized to solemnize marriages under the laws of the state in which the minister or cleric or religious practitioner resides.

(2) A person authorized by this act to solemnize a marriage shall keep proper records and make returns as required by section 4 of 1887 PA 128, MCL 551.104.

(3) If a mayor of a city solemnizes a marriage, the mayor shall charge and collect a fee to be determined by the council of that city, which shall be paid to the city treasurer and deposited in the general fund of the city at the end of the month.

(4) If the county clerk or, in a county having more than 2,000,000 inhabitants, an employee of the clerk's office designated by the county clerk solemnizes a marriage, the county clerk shall charge and collect a fee to be determined by the commissioners of the county in which the clerk serves. The fee shall be paid to the treasurer for the county in which the clerk serves and deposited in the general fund of that county at the end of the month.

section 4 of 1887 PA 128, MCL 551.104.

MARRIAGE LICENSE (EXCERPT) Act 128 of 1887 551.104 Certificate completion; officiating person duty; original license return; record. Sec. 4. It shall be the duty of the clergyman or magistrate, officiating at a marriage, to fill in the spaces of the certificate left blank for the entry of the time and place of the marriage, the names and residences of 2 witnesses, and his own signature in certification that the marriage has been performed by him and any and all information required to be filled in in the spaces left blank in the certificate shall be typewritten or legibly printed. He shall separate the duplicate license and certificate, and deliver the half part designated duplicate to 1 of the parties, so joined in marriage, and within 10 days return the original to the county clerk issuing the same. It shall be the duty of such clergyman or magistrate to keep an accurate record of all marriages solemnized in a book used expressly for that purpose.

As such, any ordination will suffice. The Constitution pretty much prohibits the state from challenging this (on free exercise of religion grounds). There's no requirement that you register your ordination with the state, etc... The requirement is that you have the obligation to return the original certificate to the clerk, filled out by the minister. Otherwise, ordination by any church through any method would suffice.

Hope that clears things up a bit. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for the time and effort that I spent on this answer unless and until you rate it positively (good or better). Thank you, ***** ***** luck to you!

Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 1 year ago.

Did you have any other questions before you rate this answer?

Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 1 year ago.

Are you there? Please note that I am still here, awaiting your response or rating... (please note that rating closes this question out, so if there's nothing else, please rate it so that I can assist other customers that are waiting for answers to their questions)

Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 1 year ago.

Should I continue to await your response, or may I assist the other customers that are waiting?

Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 1 year ago.

I see that you have not responded in some time. Please note that this question is still open until you rate it. I believe that I have answered your question, but if you have any other questions, please let me know.If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, ***** ***** good luck to you!