Introduced in House Passed House Introduced in Senate Passed Senate Became Law
01/07/2020        

Persons other than ministers who may celebrate rites of marriage; filing of the marriage record.

Provides that a marriage license application shall allow parties to a marriage to designate an officiant to celebrate the rites of marriage, provided that such officiant is not younger than 18 years of age and is not a party to the marriage. The bill provides that a license issued with such designation shall serve as authorization for such officiant to celebrate the rites of marriage anywhere in the Commonwealth without the necessity of bond or further order of authorization. The bill removes the bond requirement for a person chosen by a religious society having no ordained minister to complete the certification of marriage. The bill further removes confinement in jail from the penalty for celebrating a marriage without a license. The bill also removes confinement in jail from the penalty for a clerk knowingly issuing a marriage license contrary to law. The bill further allows either the officiant or a party to the marriage to file the marriage record with the State Registrar within five days after the ceremony. Under current law, the officiant is required to file such a record, but a party to the marriage is not allowed to do so.

Date Version PDF TXT
01/27/2020 House: Committee substitute printed 20106249D-H1 Open
01/07/2020 House: Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/08/20 20104581D Open

            

2020 SESSION

    20106249D
    HOUSE BILL NO. 863
    AMENDMENT IN THE NATURE OF A SUBSTITUTE
    (Proposed by the House Committee for Courts of Justice
    on January 27, 2020)
    (Patron Prior to Substitute--Delegate Levine)
    A BILL to amend and reenact �� 20-16, 20-25, 20-26, 20-28, 20-33, and 32.1-267 of the Code of Virginia and to repeal �� 20-21, 20-22, 20-24, and 20-37 of the Code of Virginia, relating to persons other than ministers who may celebrate rites of marriage; filing of the marriage record.

    Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

    1. That �� 20-16, 20-25, 20-26, 20-28, 20-33, and 32.1-267 of the Code of Virginia are amended and reenacted as follows:

    20-16. Issuance of marriage licenses and marriage certificates.

    The clerk issuing any marriage license shall require the parties contemplating marriage to state, under oath, the information required to complete the application for marriage license. The parties shall be able to designate themselves on the application for marriage license as spouse, bride, or groom. The clerk shall provide the parties with two copies of the marriage certificate to be completed by the marriage officiant, who shall return the completed certificates to the clerk after the marriage ceremony of the parties or confirm that a party to the marriage has done so. The clerk shall retain one copy of the completed marriage certificate and provide the other copy to the State Registrar of Vital Records. The clerk may provide the parties with a commemorative marriage certificate and the parties may request a certified copy of the official marriage certificate as provided in Article 7 (� 32.1-270 et seq.) of Chapter 7 of Title 32.1. For the purposes of this section any statement made by such applicant, under oath, concerning the information to be entered on the application for marriage license is hereby declared to be a material matter or thing in any prosecution for perjury for any violation of this section.

    20-25. Persons other than ministers who may perform rites.

    Upon petition filed with the clerk and payment of applicable clerks fees, any circuit court judge may issue an order authorizing one or more persons resident in the circuit in which the judge sits to celebrate the rites of marriage in the Commonwealth. Any person so authorized shall, before acting, enter into bond in the penalty of $500, with or without surety, as the court may direct. Any order made under this section may be rescinded at any time. No oath shall be required of a person authorized to celebrate the rites of marriage, nor shall such person be considered an officer of the Commonwealth by virtue of such authorization.

    Any judge or justice of a court of record, any judge of a district court, any retired judge or justice of the Commonwealth, and any active, senior, or retired federal judge or justice who is a resident of the Commonwealth may celebrate the rites of marriage anywhere in the Commonwealth without the necessity of bond or order of authorization.

    The marriage license application shall also allow the parties to the marriage to designate an officiant to celebrate the rites of such marriage. No officiant so designated shall be a party to the marriage or younger than 18 years of age. A license issued with such designation shall serve as authorization for the named officiant to celebrate the rites of marriage anywhere in the Commonwealth without the necessity of bond or further authorization.

    20-26. Marriage between members of religious society having no minister.

    Marriages between persons belonging to any religious society which has no ordained minister, may be solemnized by the persons and in the manner prescribed by and practiced in any such society. One person chosen by the society shall be responsible for completing the certification of marriage in the same manner as a minister or other person authorized to perform marriages; such person chosen by the society for this purpose shall be required to execute a bond in the penalty of $500, with surety. No oath shall be required of a person authorized to celebrate the rites of marriage, nor shall such person be considered an officer of the Commonwealth by virtue of such authorization.

    20-28. Penalty for celebrating marriage without license.

    If any person knowingly perform the ceremony of marriage without lawful license, or officiate in celebrating the rites of marriage without being authorized by law to do so, he shall be confined in jail not exceeding one year, and fined an amount not exceeding $500.

    20-33. Penalty for clerk issuing license contrary to law.

    If any clerk of a court knowingly issue a marriage license contrary to law, he shall be confined in jail not exceeding one year, and fined an amount not exceeding $500.

    32.1-267. Records of marriages; duties of officer issuing marriage license and person officiating at ceremony; blocking of social security number.

    A. For each marriage performed in the Commonwealth, a record showing personal data, including but not limited to age and race of the married parties, the marriage license, and the certifying statement of the facts of marriage shall be filed with the State Registrar as provided in this section.

    B. The officer issuing a marriage license shall prepare the record based on the information obtained under oath or by affidavit from the parties to be married. The parties shall also include their social security numbers or other control numbers issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles pursuant to � 46.2-342 and affix their signatures to the application for such license.

    C. Every person who officiates at a marriage ceremony shall certify to the facts of marriage and. The officiant or a party to the marriage shall file the record in duplicate with the officer who issued the marriage license within five days after the ceremony. In the event such officiant dies or becomes incapacitated before completing the certificate of marriage, the official who issued the marriage license shall complete the certificate of marriage upon the order of the court to which is submitted proof that the marriage was performed.

    D. Every officer issuing marriage licenses shall on or before the tenth day of each calendar month forward to the State Registrar a record of each marriage filed with him during the preceding calendar month.

    E. The State Registrar shall furnish forms for the marriage license, marriage certificate, and application for marriage license used in the Commonwealth. Such forms shall be configured so as to cause the social security number or control number required pursuant to the provisions of subsection B to appear only on the application for marriage license retained by the officer issuing the marriage license and the copy of such license forwarded to the State Registrar pursuant to the provisions of subsection D.

    F. Applications for marriage licenses filed on and after July 1, 1997, and marriage registers recording such applications, which have not been configured to prevent disclosure of the social security number or control number required pursuant to the provisions of subsection B of this section shall not be available for general public inspection in the offices of clerks of the circuit courts. The clerk shall make such applications and registers available for inspection only (i) upon the order of the circuit court within which such application was made or register is maintained, (ii) pursuant to a lawful subpoena duces tecum issued to the clerk, (iii) upon the written authorization of either of the applicants, or (iv) upon the request of a law-enforcement officer or duly authorized representative of the Division of Child Support Enforcement in the course of performing his official duties. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to restrict public access to marriage licenses or to prohibit the clerk from making available to the public applications for marriage licenses and marriage registers stored in any electronic medium or other format that permits the blocking of the field containing the social security or control number required pursuant to the provisions of subsection B of this section, so long as access to such number is blocked.

    2. That �� 20-21, 20-22, 20-24, and 20-37 of the Code of Virginia are repealed.

    Picture Name From Date Type
    Mark H. Levine D-Richmond Sponsor
    Date Branch Action
    01/31/2020 House House: VOTE: Block Vote Passage (99-Y 0-N)
    01/27/2020 House House: Reported from Courts of Justice with substitute (20-Y 0-N)
    01/27/2020 House House: Committee substitute printed 20106249D-H1
    01/22/2020 House House: Subcommittee recommends reporting with substitute (8-Y 0-N)
    01/07/2020 House House: Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/08/20 20104581D
    01/07/2020 House House: Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
    Summary
    Congress - Bill Number Major Title
    Branch Vote Date Yes No Not Voting
    House 1/1/2111 12:00:00 AM 95 0 0
    House 1/27/2020 12:00:00 AM 21 0 0
    House 1/22/2020 12:00:00 AM 8 0 0
    Wiki





    Start Description.
    Provides that a marriage license application shall allow parties to a marriage to designate an officiant to celebrate the rites of marriage, provided that such officiant is not younger than 18 years of age and is not a party to the marriage. The bill provides that a license issued with such designation shall serve as authorization for such officiant to celebrate the rites of marriage anywhere in the Commonwealth without the necessity of bond or further order of authorization. The bill removes th
    End Description.

    Bill TEXT Points.
    This Bill has been listed with the following Subjects from Texts:
    Persons
    Persons other than ministers who may perform rites


    End Bill TEXT Points.
    Date Bill Major Title
    Committee Name
    Subject Type