Daily Court Reporter - News Bill expands those who may solemnize marriages
Bill expands those who may solemnize marriages
KEITH ARNOLD, Daily Reporter Staff Writer
Members of a committee in the Ohio Senate recently heard testimony on a bill to broaden the category of individuals or entities that may solemnize marriages.
Senate Bill 52, introduced to the Senate on Valentine's Day, would allow anyone or any organization that has registered with the Ohio Secretary of State to preside over marriages in the Buckeye State.
"Many people who seek to get married are not affiliated with a church or religious organization," said Sen. Michael Skindell, D-Lakewood, the sponsor of the bill. "This legislation will provide convenience to these citizens for the solemnization of marriages without having to go through the various public officials who may solemnize such as judges or mayors.
"Generally speaking, encouraging marriage is good public policy."
Under current law, those who may solemnize marriages in Ohio are ordained or licensed ministers of any religious society or congregation within the state who are licensed to do so; municipal, county and probate judges; a mayor of a municipal corporation in a county where it wholly or partially lies; the superintendent of the state school for the deaf; and any religious society in conformity with the rules of its church.
SB 52 calls for the creation of the Secretary of State Registry.
"Once a person wishing to solemnize marriage registers with the secretary of state, he or she will be issued a license to perform these ceremonies," the Skindell said. "This allows for greater freedom and flexibility for those wishing to be married to have it solemnized, in particular those who are not affiliated with a church or religious community."
According to analysis provided by the Ohio Legislative Service Commission, SB 52 allows any person or entity that registers with the secretary of state to join together any persons who are not prohibited by law from being joined in marriage.
Upon registering with the secretary of state, the individual or entity that wishes to solemnize marriages will be granted a license by the secretary of state and such a license must be made available for inspection when requested by any party to a marriage or any probate judge
"Under the bill, the secretary of state must enter the name of the person or entity ... into a record kept in the secretary of state's office," Wendy Gridley wrote in the commission's analysis. "When recorded, the name and the license are evidence that the named person or entity may solemnize marriages in Ohio."
SB 52 is a facsimile of a bill Skindell introduced during the 131st General Assembly.
The Senate Local Government, Public Safety and Veterans Affairs Committee had not scheduled a second hearing of the bill at time of publication.
Date Published: July 24, 2017