This week, the US Supreme Court heard arguments for marriage equality and our Atlanta law firm is following this issue closely. Kitchens New Cleghorn provides legal services to many same-sex couples, and we fully support the dignity of their relationships. Although a large part of our business is helping some people end their marriages in the easiest way possible, we celebrate marriage and respect it for the special institution that it is. That’s why when one of our friends had pics on social media showing her officiating a wedding in Florida, we got curious about who can be a wedding officiant here in Georgia.
Kitchens New Cleghorn law clerk Burton Peebles researched this issue for us (what the law specifically says about who can act as a marriage officiant in Georgia). Here is what he told us:
“A marriage license may be authorized in Georgia by any Governor; former Governor of Georgia; any judge, including judges of state and federal courts of record in Georgia; city recorders, including recorders outside of their municipality; magistrate judges; ministers; or other persons of any religious society or sect authorized by the rules of such society to perform the marriage ceremony. This provision is interpreted broadly. However, if not a judge, justice of the peace, Governor or former Governor, city recorder, or magistrate, an officiant must have the authority under the rules of any religious society to solemnize a marriage (i.e. a deacon, elder, or ordained minister).”
Our rules are very liberal in comparison with some other states, such as neighboring North Carolina, where some “officiant” certifications obtained online do not satisfy their legal requirements to perform marriages. To ensure your marriage will be legal, be sure that your officiant is legally certified to perform the marriage ceremony.