Changes to 1-Day Solemnizer Rule Recommended
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 13, 2019, Fairfield, CT. Significant problems with the state’s one-day solemnizer rule were identified by the Justice of the Peace Association in a white paper submitted to Governor Charlie Baker’s office last week.
The Governor appoints Justices of the Peace to perform marriages and process the paperwork required to make the relationship legal. The one-day solemnizer rule allows friends and family to officiate, oftentimes with troublesome results.
Most people think when the officiant says “I now pronounce you…” is the most important part of the marriage. But in reality, witnessing the couple’s affirmation and accurately and timely processing the legal paperwork is what governments rely upon for this official act. Marriage is a legally binding relationship with significant implications. Health insurance, immigration and citizenship, taxes and home ownership, parenthood, retirement and inheritance may all be contingent upon it.
Loretta Jay, managing member of The Justice of the Peace Association, a professional organization for marriage officiants, explained, “JPus surveyed the state’s town clerks last year and found that up to 90% of one-day solemnizers made serious legal errors. It is a major headache for their offices – and couples suffer the consequence of an invalid marriage.”
“The solutions that we’ve recommended satisfy all stakeholders,” Jay continued. “Couples can have their loved one officiate the ceremony with professional JPs completing the legal aspects, and town clerks will be relieved of the burden of having to fix the errors.”
Another problem mentioned in the JPus report is that the state doesn’t track how many authorizations an individual receives. This means that someone may apply for the designation every weekend, circumventing the state’s rules for justices of the peace. The state limits the number of appointed JPs to one for every 5,000 residents. Furthermore, by statute, professional JPs may only charge $100 to perform a local ceremony (and $150 for one out-of-town). In contrast, there are no restrictions on one-day solemnizers’ ceremony fees.
The Justice of the Peace Association (JPus) represents secular marriage officiants from Massachusetts and other New England states. The professional membership association connects members with couples, sets professional standards and represents membership in public discourse. Its goal is to support JPs with their duties as marriage officiants. More information about JPus can be found at www.JPus.org. Couples can find their perfect marriage officiant at www.findaJP.com, the place for couples who click!