Marriage License Rules Loosened in Connecticut
March 27, 2020, Fairfield, CT. On Tuesday, when Connecticut’s Governor Lamont signed an executive order loosening marriage license application procedures, he acknowledged that sometimes performing a marriage is an essential service. This made socially distanced weddings an official alternative. Sadly, the big reception must be postponed until life returns to normal, but for now at least, the wedding can go on. Thankfully, the state’s justices of the peace (JP) are at the ready to support couples who need an intimate ceremony now.
Sometimes health insurance coverage or a military deployment make a marriage urgent. When necessary, having a trained, professional officiant available is critical. Supporting both the officiants and betrothed, the Fairfield-based Justice of the Peace Association (JPus) is providing much-needed guidance. Since the coronavirus pandemic changed everything, JPus developed resources so JPs are prepared.
“Our hope is that by providing needed information, we can take some of the uncertainty away and alleviate anxiety,” says JPus managing member Loretta Jay. “We want to make sure that everyone is safe and acting responsibly to stop the spread of this devastating virus.” Couples are anguished as they’ve been planning their special day for a year or more. Their stress levels are very high.
Officiants want to be supportive, and also make sure that everyone is following the CDC’s guidelines. New Haven JP Gerald Antunes insists on preventative measures during the ceremony – for everyone’s safety. For instance, only immediate family and outdoor ceremonies. His experience and knowledge of the area is an asset; if it is raining, he’ll work with the couple to find a gazebo that protects from the elements. Gerald says, “I’m glad that I can accommodate couples when they need to get married and cannot wait, even though modifications may be needed.”
JPus’ COVID-19 website pages provide guidance for officiants and couples. Some of the topics include how to have a social-distanced ceremony, postponing (not canceling) wedding celebrations and what to do when town offices are closed. Because officiants are typically sole proprietors affected by the economic impact to the wedding industry, there are financial resources, too.
The Justice of the Peace Association connects members with couples and sets professional standards. Its goal is to support secular marriage officiants with the performance of their duties. Its COVID-19 page is available here: JPus.org/COVID. Couples can find professional marriage officiants at findaJP.com.