June 1st, 2007
|11:26 am - Marrying, burying, and the ULC|
Slipping through information, trying to find out whether I can legally marry someone in Tennessee or North Carolina or whether I have to do something like register first (still working out particulars there), I found that the ULC isn't legal in all states.
This is kinda odd to me: while the ULC isn't exactly a banner of training for their clergy, one would think that the First Amendment would trump a lot of the stuff out there.
But, so far, it appears that at least New York City and North Carolina don't accept ULC ministers as legal marriages.
Curiously, the ULC purports to be legal in all states. Gotta love it. I guess they're technically correct: the First Amendment would make them "legal" in all states, but individual states occasionally haven't had a challenge that would test case law that ruled against them (as in the case of North Carolina), or else the courts have ruled against the ULC. (Wikipedia has a list of court cases involving the ULC, most of which are favourable to the ULC.)
tesinth has also informed me that his ULC ordination isn't valid for marriages here in Ohio, but I'm not finding info on that yet. Then again, he's the one with the certificate, so he'd know better than I.
Because I'm registered with the state under my ADF credentials, I don't have much to worry about here. On the other hand, depending on laws, I might need a physical meeting place for the Grove to legally marry people in certain states (like the state of New York, though because I "have" a congregation, I should be okay on that).
ADF's "Law and the Church" course gave me a solid footing on how to slip through and search out a lot of this information, and I'm happy to have that. Just the act of finding as many laws as possible really gave me a leg up on the process. I know who to call to resolve questions that the statutes don't seem to answer, and I know how to dig through case law in some cases as well (though this particular skill is not as good as I'd prefer, I admit).
Current Location: Southeast of Disorder
Current Mood: curious
Current Music: "All The Ways I Want You", -JB
I believe that even with a ULC certification you still need a certificate from the state of Ohio in order to legally perform marriages here. Once you have an Ohio certificate, I believe that you can apply for reciprocity in other states on a case by case basis. But every state is different, as you are finding to be the case.
Yes, the state does certify everyone here. Ken Blackwell certified me to go marry people. I'm now dreaming of the day I can point to his signature and say, "Ken Blackwell said I could marry people in this state, and by his authority, I pronounce you Husband and Husband. You may kiss the other guy."
Of course, it'll take federal action for that to happen, I'm afraid. *sighs*
Looks like Tenn. and North Carolina don't actually do that sort of checking, though, so my signature is good enough for them.
And don't get me started on clergy taxes, should you go that route. All the tax burden of self-employment, but none of the write-offs. If attempt to file taxes as clergy don't do it yourself and make sure your tax preparer understands clergy tax law specifically.
Gah, yeah. I had a bitch of a time of doing that last year, and just gave up, since I didn't actually have any "income" to speak of. I just claimed my mileage as "use of a vehicle for charity" and left it at that.
I wonder if the ban against ULC would fall in many of those states if you had an ordained ULC Minister come and ordain another one... because they are mostly bans against mail order certifications. I don't believe the states can actually say anything about training.
Dunno. Does the ULC do physical ordinations anymore, even? I guess it'd be possible. . .
I don't know. I only have that on word of mouth, because I haven't done any of the case law work here in Ohio.
I do know that it's unlikely to cause a problem, as even in NC, the problem is mostly just "if someone questions the validity of the marriage".
That sort of thing is unlikely to occur, though, so they're probably fine.
(Besides, given the number of people who make lots of money off of it in this state, well, I'd be a bit surprised if that was actually the case.)
Just as a caveat, though: I once got a panicked call from a bride a couple days after I had performed her marriage ceremony because some LA County Clerk's office functionary had challenged the marriage certificate on which I'd written "ADF" in the (very, very tiny) box provided for "denomination". The clerk had no particular grounds to do so and California has particularly liberal statutes on marriage officiants, but the couple still had to waste their time going back a second time to satisfy the bureaucrats that ADF was a real church. So it is important to have one's ducks in a row...and be prepared to respond to challenges, even if they aren't legitimate.
Adding to the list of states. . .
Washington State and Wyoming honor ULC marriage credentials. Utah does not.
(My cousin and his bride found this out kinda late so technically got married at dawn at a gas station just over the Utah/Wyoming border; they later faked it through the planned ceremony and only told folks the real story at the reception *grin*)
I suppose Utah being an exception isn't surprising when you stop to think about it.
Ironically, in the argument I had with PA's chief-bureaucrat-in-charge-of-marriages, he ranted about people being able to be ordained on the Internet but completely accepted my ULC ordination. But then, he was *exactly* the sort of idiot who wouldn't know the name of the organization that he was ranting against.
I did the ULC thing back in the late '90's, since then, it looks like they won a court case against Utah, Universal Life Church v. Utah, 189 F. Supp.2d 1302, 1307 (D. Utah 2002), which ruled Utah's ban on mail-order or internet ordinations unconstitutional, so quite a few states have backed off of them.
I guess this means I can marry my dad in September (should be enough time for the paperwork to go through, I hope). Of course, I have a $50.00 bet with him saying that he won't get married, so if I'm the one that is going to be solomnizing his marrige, I should be able to win that bet... :)
Guess I should did out my old certificate.
However, it is sorta hard to take any "church" seriously when they sell Jedi Knight certificates: http://www.themonastery.org/catalog/jediknightcertificate-p-237.html
Hmm, guess the court case loss wasn't common knowledge in all Utah marriage licensing offices by October 2004, anyhow. . .
Wow, your dad's really gonna take the plunge? I never figured him for the type. (Edit: It's possible you told me this before and I forgot. If so, D'oh!) Best of luck to them both.
We'll see, I'm not holding my breathe. Not trying to sound snarky, but I don't think it'll happen, unless, of course, he marries just to get the fifty bucks off of me, which I wouldn't put past him. He's already called the whole thing off at least once that I know of, and they're not getting along too well right now, plus I'm really not that impressed with her, but who knows, maybe the fourth time is the charm (or sixth, if you count 'common-law').
Of course, I want him to be happy, but I just can't see this making him happy in the long run, at least not with her, but who knows...