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Miles Miller

Ability To Marry In South Carolina?

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Hey everyone! I was just ordained yesterday, and am currently attending college at the University of South Carolina. I saw this in South Carolina's laws on marriage:

SECTION 20-1-20. Persons who may perform marriage ceremony.

Only ministers of the Gospel, Jewish rabbis, officers authorized to administer oaths in this State, and the chief or spiritual leader of a Native American Indian entity recognized by the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs pursuant to Section 1-31-40 are authorized to administer a marriage ceremony in this State.

Does a minister of the ULC fall into this category? Have there ever been any cases against the ULC in SC, and have any of you ever performed a marriage here?

Thank you for your time.

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That is the appearance of the legal code. This said that if they allow one religion or in this case 2 different ones with out recognising other religions right to the same then there would be an issue.

Talk to the local county clerks office and make your request there. Though under that law the simple answer is that If you are either a minister of the Gosple (Christian) Or Jewish and are ordained no matter the ordaining body (IE ULC does qualify under that part).

Additionally, even if the practice is to allow any minister from any religious group to perform the marriage officiate procedure, it may be wise to bring this up to your elected officials so that can be changed and be corrected under the legal system there as the constitutional law is fairly clear on the equality and freedom of religion idea.

Just my 2 and a half cents, nothing official.

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Hey everyone! I was just ordained yesterday, and am currently attending college at the University of South Carolina.

{... snip ... }

Does a minister of the ULC fall into this category? Have there ever been any cases against the ULC in SC, and have any of you ever performed a marriage here?

While I am not aware of cases brought, there have been at least two legal opinions brought by two different Attorneys General of South Carolina. Both are consistent, and apply the Constitutional principal as is appropriate, and without bias:

1971: (WestLaw Citation as: 1971 WL 22331 (S.C.A.G.)) Attorney General Daniel R. McLeod

1973: (WestLaw Citation as: 1973 WL 26680 (S.C.A.G.)) Assistant Attorney General James C. Harrison, Jr.

(I will attempt to attach copies of both A.G.opinions.)

I will quote the 1973 opinion, as it is the more recent, but as I said is consistent with the earlier:

"It has been the previous opinion of this office that an individual who is authorized by the tenets of his faith to perform marriage ceremonies is a minister of the Gospel within the meaning of the marriage statutes of this State. Although I express no opinion as to whether the Universal Life Church, Inc. is a bonafide religious organization capable of authorizing its ministers to perform marriage ceremonies or as to whether or not {any particular individual} in fact has been authorized by the tenets of his faith to perform marriages, if these conditions do in fact exist, it would appear that without question {the minister of The Universal Life Church} may under the laws of this State perform marriage ceremonies."

It would appear that no one needed to push further.

It is also notable that, in the legal wisdom of the State of South Carolina, they will not consider whether any particular religious group is a religion, or whether any one person is truly ordained theerby. We (Americans) should not want it any other way, as to do so would put the government in the position of deciding the validity of a religion. That would be unconstitutional; it is certainly enlightened on the part of South Carolina.

SC 1973.pdf

SC 1971.pdf

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