From Michael D. Schuenemeyer, Executive for Health and Wholeness Advocacy, national setting of the United Church of Christ

Dear Conference Ministers and Clergy attending the 30 General Synod of the United Church of Christ:

Given the strong possibility of a favorable ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court that could make marriage equality the law of the land throughout the country, we are working on a contingency for performing same sex weddings at General Synod.  However, at this point, we are still working  to get all the required pieces in place to perform weddings should same sex couples be able to get marriage licenses while we are at General Synod.  At the same time, we recognize the some UCC clergy visiting Ohio for Synod may wish to be able to perform legal marriages and the information in this email contains links and information that help clergy prepare for this possibility.

Please note, it is important for interested clergy to apply for an Ohio “Minister License” immediately in order to have the proper legal authorization/credentials to perform a legal wedding in Ohio.

While we do not know when or how the court will rule, we know that it is possible that same sex marriage could be legal before synod begins, sometime during synod, sometime after synod, or God forbid, not at all.  We know that the Supreme Court’s decision could come at any time between now and June 29.  Many feel it will be June 29, the last day the court is scheduled to have a conference of this term.  That is the Monday of General Synod.  We also know that the Probate Justices in Cuyahoga County have printed gender neutral marriage licenses and desire to make them available to same sex couples as soon as possible should the court rule favorably.

I am working with local officials and Equality Ohio to get a permit for Mall C, the green lawn directly across from the Cleveland Convention Center, over-looking Lake Erie, where weddings could be performed at any time it may become possible to do so during our General Synod meeting.

There is also a chance we may not get the permit and may not logistically be able to make it happen.  As I mentioned earlier, we are still working on putting these pieces together.  I will provide updated information as I can, but I want to share this information now so you and the any clergy you know who are coming to Synod may know about this possibility and if you/ they wish to participate, you/they may be prepared to do so by acquiring the Ohio Minister License and bring it with them to Synod.

I hope this is helpful.

Blessings and peace,
Mike

What is required to do wedding in Ohio

Ohio Minister License

You must have a “Minister License” to perform weddings in Ohio.  The process for obtaining a “Minister License” and the link to the application is at:http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/recordsIndexes/MinisterLicense/licensing.aspx

You will need to provide a copy of your ordination certificate and/or a copy of the page in the most recent UCC Yearbook where you name is listed as an Ordained Minister of the United Church of Christ (or other communion, as applicable).  Plus there is a $10 fee.  The time is short it is important to submit your application as soon as possible.

http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/recordsIndexes/MinisterLicense/licensing.aspx

Ohio Marriage Law

Marriage Law in Ohio is fairly straightforward and is available at http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/3101.

The following are relevant sections addressing who may solemnize a marriage in Ohio and other related policies.

3101.08 Who may solemnize marriages.

An ordained or licensed minister of any religious society or congregation within this state who is licensed to solemnize marriages, a judge of a county court in accordance with section 1907.18 of the Revised Code, a judge of a municipal court in accordance with section 1901.14 of the Revised Code, a probate judge in accordance with section 2101.27 of the Revised Code, the mayor of a municipal corporation in any county in which such municipal corporation wholly or partly lies, the superintendent of the state school for the deaf, or any religious society in conformity with the rules of its church, may join together as husband and wife any persons who are not prohibited by law from being joined in marriage.

Effective Date: 04-11-1991

3101.09 Prohibition.

No person, except those legally authorized, shall attempt to solemnize a marriage, and no marriage shall be solemnized without the issuance of a license.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

3101.10 License to solemnize marriages.

A minister upon producing to the secretary of state, credentials of the minister’s being a regularly ordained or licensed minister of any religious society or congregation, shall be entitled to receive from the secretary of state a license authorizing the minister to solemnize marriages in this state so long as the minister continues as a regular minister in that society or congregation. A minister shall produce for inspection the minister’s license to solemnize marriages upon demand of any party to a marriage at which the minister officiates or proposes to officiate or upon demand of any probate judge.

Amended by 129th General Assembly File No.52, SB 124, §1, eff. 1/13/2012.

Effective Date: 06-04-1976

3101.11 Recording license to solemnize marriages.

The secretary of state shall enter the name of a minister licensed to solemnize marriages upon a record kept in the office of the secretary of state.

Effective Date: 06-04-1976

3101.12 Evidence of recording.

When the name of a minister licensed to solemnize marriages is entered upon the record by the secretary of state, such record and the license issued under section 3101.10 of the Revised Code shall be evidence that such minister is authorized to solemnize marriages in this state.

Effective Date: 06-04-1976

3101.13 Marriage record.

Except as otherwise provided in this section, a certificate of every marriage solemnized shall be transmitted by the authorized person solemnizing the marriage, within thirty days after the solemnization, to the probate judge of the county in which the marriage license was issued. If, in accordance with section 2101.27 of the Revised Code, a probate judge solemnizes a marriage and if the probate judge issued the marriage license to the husband and wife, the probate judge shall file a certificate of that solemnized marriage in the probate judge’s office within thirty days after the solemnization. All of the transmitted and filed certificates shall be consecutively numbered and recorded in the order in which they are received.

Amended by 129th General Assembly File No.52, SB 124, §1, eff. 1/13/2012.

Effective Date: 04-11-1991

3101.14 Notice on license of penalty for failure to return certificate of solemnized marriage.

Every marriage license shall have printed upon it in prominent type the notice that, unless the person solemnizing the marriage returns a certificate of the solemnized marriage to the probate court that issued the marriage license within thirty days after performing the ceremony, or, if the person solemnizing the marriage is a probate judge who is acting in accordance with section 2101.27 of the Revised Code and who issued the marriage license to the husband and wife, unless that probate judge files a certificate of the solemnized marriage in the probate judge’s office within thirty days after the solemnization, the person or probate judge is guilty of a minor misdemeanor and, upon conviction, may be punished by a fine of fifty dollars. An envelope suitable for returning the certificate of marriage, and addressed to the proper probate court, shall be given with each license, except that this requirement does not apply if a marriage is to be solemnized by a probate judge who is acting in accordance with section 2101.27 of the Revised Code and who issued the marriage license to the husband and wife.

Amended by 129th General Assembly File No.52, SB 124, §1, eff. 1/13/2012.

Effective Date: 04-11-1991

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