UCC General Counsel Warns Against Officiating Weddings Remotely

UCC General Counsel Warns Against Officiating Weddings Remotely

Heather E. Kimmel,  General Counsel for the United Church of Christ, sent the following email to Conference Ministers:

Please know that one of your colleagues contacted me today regarding the legality of a clergy person officiating a marriage remotely.  After some research into that state’s law, I recommended that clergy not do this because of a “presence” requirement for a solemnizing officiant.  While there are a few states that have issued COVID-era exceptions to officiants solemnizing marriages in person, it is only a few.  And so I would encourage any clergy person who is considering doing this to proceed with extreme caution and consult a domestic relations attorney for a legal opinion in their state.  The risk is that the couple’s marriage could be invalid, and also that the clergy person may be charged with a likely misdemeanor level offense for officiating an invalid marriage.
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