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N Cal Attorney
N Cal Attorney, Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 9414
Experience:  since 1983
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I AM AN ORDAINED DEACON IN A Southern Bbaptist Church in Texas.

Resolved Question:

I AM AN ORDAINED DEACON IN A Southern Bbaptist Church in Texas. My Step grand Daughter and her fiance want me to perform their wedding ceremony on the beach in San Diego, Calif next June. I am also a retired Air Force Colonel. Can I legally perform the desired ceremony?

If not, is there some legal way I can me a major participant in that ceremony and sign the certificate along with someone authorized to perform the ceremony and sign the Certificate of Marriage?

Minton O Newman, Sr, [email protected]
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 7 years ago.
The answer is Yes, you can perform the ceremony:

SECTION 400-402
400. Marriage may be solemnized by any of the following who is of
the age of 18 years or older:
(a) A priest, minister, rabbi, or authorized person of any
religious denomination.
(b) A judge or retired judge, commissioner of civil marriages or
retired commissioner of civil marriages, commissioner or retired
commissioner, or assistant commissioner of a court of record in this
(c) A judge or magistrate who has resigned from office.
(d) Any of the following judges or magistrates of the United
(1) A justice or retired justice of the United States Supreme
(2) A judge or retired judge of a court of appeals, a district
court, or a court created by an act of Congress the judges of which
are entitled to hold office during good behavior.
(3) A judge or retired judge of a bankruptcy court or a tax court.
(4) A United States magistrate or retired magistrate.
(e) A legislator or constitutional officer of this state or a
Member of Congress who represents a district within this state, while
that person holds office.

SECTION 420-426

420. (a) No particular form for the ceremony of marriage is
required for solemnization of the marriage, but the parties shall
declare, in the physical presence of the person solemnizing the
marriage and necessary witnesses, that they take each other as
husband and wife.
(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), a member of the Armed Forces
of the United States who is stationed overseas and serving in a
conflict or a war and is unable to appear for the licensure and
solemnization of the marriage may enter into that marriage by the
appearance of an attorney in fact, commissioned and empowered in
writing for that purpose through a power of attorney. The attorney in
fact must personally appear at the county clerk's office with the
party who is not stationed overseas, and present the original power
of attorney duly signed by the party stationed overseas and
acknowledged by a notary or witnessed by two officers of the United
States Armed Forces. Copies in any form, including by facsimile, are
not acceptable. The power of attorney shall state the full given
names at birth, or by court order, of the parties to be married, and
that the power of attorney is solely for the purpose of authorizing
the attorney in fact to obtain a marriage license on the person's
behalf and participate in the solemnization of the marriage. The
original power of attorney shall be a part of the marriage
certificate upon registration.
(c) No contract of marriage, if otherwise duly made, shall be
invalidated for want of conformity to the requirements of any
religious sect.

421. Before solemnizing a marriage, the person solemnizing the
marriage shall require the presentation of the marriage license. If
the person solemnizing the marriage has reason to doubt the
correctness of the statement of facts in the marriage license, the
person must be satisfied as to the correctness of the statement of
facts before solemnizing the marriage. For this purpose, the person
may administer oaths and examine the parties and witnesses in the
same manner as the county clerk does before issuing the license.

422. The person solemnizing a marriage shall, sign and print or
type upon the marriage license a statement, in the form prescribed by
the State Department of Public Health, showing all of the following:
(a) The fact, date (month, day, year), and place (city and county)
of solemnization.
(b) The printed names, signatures, and mailing addresses of at
least one, and no more than two, witnesses to the ceremony.
(c) The official position of the person solemnizing the marriage,
or of the denomination of which that person is a priest, minister,
rabbi, or other authorized person of any religious denomination.
(d) The person solemnizing the marriage shall also type or print
his or her name and mailing address.

423. The person solemnizing the marriage shall return the marriage
license, endorsed as required in Section 422, to the county recorder
of the county in which the license was issued within 10 days after
the ceremony.

I hope this information is helpful.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

I don't understand the phrase in Paragraph 422 c which reads..."or other authorized person of any religious denomination." Who determines if a Deacon in a Baptist church is an "authorized Person"?


Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 7 years ago.
Your Church determines who is authorized to perform weddings. You wrote that you were ordained so I assumed that performing a wedding is within your powers.

If you tell me the exact name of the Church you were ordained in, I can try to determine whether deacons in that denomination are authorized to officiate at weddings.

If your Church does not allow Deacons to perform weddings, you can become ordained on line as a Minister in the Universal Life Church, see
and that credential will allow you to legally perform a wedding ceremony in California.

Edited by N Cal Attorney on 10/21/2010 at 10:03 AM EST
N Cal Attorney and 2 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 7 years ago.
Thank you for accepting my answer.