We form strategic partnerships with individuals, groups and organizations that share our goal of supporting marriage officiants with the performance of their duties. Doing so allows us to broaden our strength and influence, and be a more effective leader and representative for our members.
Secretary of State’s offices & Town Clerks
The Secretary of State‘s offices and town clerks are important stakeholders to us, and our natural partners. Their role complements that of officiants in marriage’s legal process. Working together benefits all parties, because it improves communication.
Connecting couples with our members is our core service. So, we are invested in facilitating marriages in the states that we’re active with. To that end, we partner with state Tourism Offices, too, promoting destination weddings.
Our tourism partners include:
Read more about state and municipal partnerships and sign up for updates.
Three social issues have been at the forefront of the Justice of the Peace Association’s advocacy efforts: Marriage equality, child and forced marriage and human trafficking. Collaborating with others that share our goals makes us stronger.
- JPus is a partner with Unchained at Last, a non-profit dedicated to ending forced and child marriage through direct service and advocacy.
- In the fall of 2018, the JPus membership voted to join the Coalition to End Child Marriage. A coalition member from its inception, JPus is proud to belong to this first national US group with the purpose of ending child marriage.
- JPus partnered with the nonprofit Tahirih Justice Center. It is a national organization that provides direct services to victims and technical assistance to professionals. Together we developed a training for JPs, notaries and other professional officiants about recognizing child marriage and understanding its correlation with forced marriage.
Child and Forced Marriage and Human Trafficking
Marriage officiants may confront forced marriage and human trafficking in the course of their routine business. Helping officiants recognize incidents, and then know what to do, is an important aspect of our work.
Many people are surprised to learn that child marriages occur in the United States at alarming rates. And, contrary to popular belief, most child marriages are not religious arrangements, but are underage girls to older men. These are oftentimes condoned by the girls’ parents to avoid the shame of an out-of-wedlock pregnancy. It is appalling. When the older man marries the younger girl, he is no longer subjected to sexual abuse or statutory rape charges.
JPus members are professionals who take an oath to execute the laws of their state. They also agree to abide by our Code of Ethics; this requires officiants to act in the best interest of their clients. Laws that permit children to wed would put these two at odds with one another. Child marriage can be devastating to girls’ lives. It destroys their health, education and economic opportunities. It increases their risk of experiencing violence. It is a human rights abuse. JPus members voiced opposition to child marriages. They said they would not feel comfortable performing them, and would likely refuse to do so.
JPus members are purveyors of love. Toward that end, we have always been advocates for marriage equality. Early on, when Connecticut first permitted Civil Unions, we were there. Not satisfied, we were vocal supporters for a change that would legalize same-sex marriages. By judicial decree, first in Massachusetts (2003) and then in Connecticut (2008), the laws changed. In 2009 Vermont and New Hampshire passed legislation legalizing same-sex marriages. And, in 2012, Maine voters approved same-sex marriage by referendum. Finally, on June 26, 2015 the US Supreme Court struck down laws that banned same-sex marriage and marriage equality was achieved!
As the current social climate begins to threaten marriage equality, JPus will be be at the forefront to defend and protect this right of our citizens. Read more about our advocacy efforts in support of marriage equality.
- Read more about JPus’ efforts to end child marriage, including state specific activities.
- Education and training for officiants about child and forced marriage
- JPus has been on the forefront of legislative activity to end child marriage
- Follow our state-by-state changes to marriage laws
- How membership voted to join the Coalition to End Child Marriage.