Updated May 13, 2020
We are approaching two months of Stay Home Stay Safe orders, and our state leaders are exploring how communities can begin to safely resume some activity. It is likely that we’ll be socially distancing for quite some time – maybe even a year or two. With this in mind, the Justice of the Peace Association is focusing on marriage officiant guidance that is safe and sustainable.
Our strategy is two-fold. We’re advocating with state governments to identify and implement policies that facilitate marriages during the pandemic. And, in conjunction with federal agencies, we are developing safety protocols for all marriage officiants to follow.
Municipal and State Operations
In order for marriage ceremonies to happen during COVID, municipal offices need to maintain operations: receiving intentions/applications and issuing licenses, and then processing the completed documentation. While many wedding celebrations must be postponed, steps need to be taken to facilitate essential marriages now. Consequently, JPus is advocating to state leaders in the executive and legislative branches to improve protocols and communication.
We maintain that professional officiants can be trusted to act responsibly and follow the CDC’s and local/state government’s guidance. Similarly, we are differentiating ourselves from amateur officiants who don’t have the professional training and mindset that sets us apart. Please do your part by fully complying with CDC recommendations while performing essential marriages.
Members of the Justice of the Peace Association agree to abide by our Code of Ethics. This includes acting in the best interest of clients, and in a manner that reflects favorably on themselves, their office and the Justice of the Peace Association. Medical professionals have advised that we can carry COVID with no symptoms, which means that when out in public, we should assume we have it, and assume everyone else has it, too. We need to conduct ourselves accordingly.
JPus is coordinating with OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) to develop a COVID certification for marriage officiants. This would have two purposes:
★ Safety: Providing the steps for officiants to mitigate risk when performing a marriage ceremony.
★ Assurance: So clients know that the officiant has completed appropriate training, to keep all parties safe
It is important that JPs (and notaries in Maine and Florida) follow the guidance provided when performing marriages. Otherwise, our efforts to represent members is undermined, and our argument that some rules should be loosened because professionals can be trusted is called into question.
★ JPus’ COVID-19 pages, regularly updated with resources and support for marriage officiants
★ Be a part of the coronavirus-management conversation with fellow officiants in JPus’ members-only Facebook group
★ Face masks for the officiant and marriage couple. Made by JPus’ seamstress in quality satin fabrics
★ Follow JPus’ Facebook page for coronavirus news and updates