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TomK

Wedding Dilemma

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I have read where ULC ministers are not allowed to perform NC weddings???? But I see loads of ULC minsiters listed in North Carolina

Is this true or not?

Second is my problem - my daughter lives in NC, I live in Michigan. My daughter wants me to marry her down there but I don't know if I legally can...

Any comments most appreciated

Thanks

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You look to be OK in NC. Does not say you as a member of the clergy need to be a resident of NC to perform a wedding there. Best to call the county clerk where you will be performing the wedding just to be sure, as laws tend to change.

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Disclaimer: I am not an attorney licensed to practice law in NC or any other state. opinions stated are mine and mine alone based on my understanding of the existing case law.

http://www.ulcseminary.org/forum/uploads/NCvLynch.pdf ''State of North Carolina v. Lynch'' (December 1980) State convicts person married by ULC minister of bigamy in second marriage, then overturned on appeal due to the marriage by the ULC minister being found as not a legal marriage.

http://www.ulcseminary.org/forum/uploads/fultonvvickery.pdf ''Fulton v. Vickery'' (March 1985) Marriage by ULC minister upheld since marriage occurred prior to July 3, 1981 (see NC § 51-1.1)

http://www.ulcseminary.org/forum/uploads/LynchvULC.pdf ''Lynch v. Universal Life Church''(October 1985) Individual accuses ULC of fraud; church wins in district court.

ULC marriages prior to July 3, 1981 are validated. (NC § 51-1.1.)

Given the curative state of the law passed validating marriages solemnized by ULC ministers prior to 1981, I suggest that ULC ministers are not authorized to solemnize as the curative law could have been word that all marriages solemnized by a ULC minister are valid, but instead only specifically validated those before a specific date.

Opinions and Milage may vary, consult an attorney licensed to practice law in North Carolina or contact the Office of the Attorney General to issue an Official Opinion.

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That is what I have seen also Dorian and I have also been told that some clerks still accept ULC marriages. From my point of view it is still alot of mumble jumble happening down there.

I emailed the county clerk of the county where my daughter lives, but have not heard back from them yet...

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Koki, while I respect your opinion, here is where my view comes from.

§ 51‑1.1. Certain marriages performed by ministers of Universal Life Church validated.

Any marriages performed by ministers of the Universal Life Church prior to July 3, 1981, are validated, unless they have been invalidated by a court of competent jurisdiction, provided that all other requirements of law have been met and the marriages would have been valid if performed by an official authorized by law to perform wedding ceremonies. (1981, c. 797.)

Bolded portion clearly indicates that the State of NC in 1981 did not believe that ULC ministers were legally able to perform marriages under the state’s laws and rather the invalidate all those marriages, they passed this "curative" law where if everything else was on the up and up, the couple will remain legally marriage even though the marriage at the time of solemnization was not legal. The fact that they give a prior to date indicates that it is marking a clear line of delineation between marriages performed by a ULC Minister before that date becoming legal and the date after which ULC marriages are not legally binding.

I haven't found any court cases after the 1981 date that someone has sued to invalidate a marriage solemnized by a ULC minister based on that as grounds, but that doesn't mean that it hasn't happened or isn’t possible.

At this point the only sure fire way to know the legality is to either have NC pass a law validating all marriages solemnized by a ULC minister regardless of date preformed and validate all future marriages or someone sue for their marriage preformed after 1981 to be invalidated on the grounds of a ULC minister lacked the authority and the courts rule on if it is valid or not. An OAG opinion can be a guide point but in and of itself is not legally binding law that statute law or case law.

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a valid line of thought. but it supports a fundamentally unconstitutulional practice. As the above amendment is thirty years old, and as i suspect there have been a butt ton of ulc based weddings in NC since, i suggest it is time to push forward to clean up this travesty.

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Here is the reply I got from my daughters County Clerk;

Rev. Kaminski,

Some states require people to register with or be authorized by a government agency before officiating at marriage ceremonies. North Carolina has no such requirement. NC statutes are broad as to who may perform a ceremony, citing a valid and sufficient marriage can be created by an "ordained minister of any religious denomination, a minister authorized by a church or a magistrate."

However, in Sandra Lynch v. Universal Life Church (1985) a ceremony solemnized by a layman who bought for $10.00 a mail order certificate giving him "credentials of minister" in the Universal Life Church, Inc., was not a ceremony of marriage to be recognized for purposes of bigamy prosecution. One might conclude that ordainment credentials obtained from an online service, similar to a mail order service, may not be sufficient. For more info about this case, please visit http://bulk.resource.org/courts.gov/c/F2/775/775.F2d.576.84-1856.html.

Please give me a call if you have further questions

Thanks!

Matthew J. McCall

Register of Deeds, Iredell County

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a valid line of thought. but it supports a fundamentally unconstitutulional practice. As the above amendment is thirty years old, and as i suspect there have been a butt ton of ulc based weddings in NC since, i suggest it is time to push forward to clean up this travesty.

Find someone to attempt to invalidate their marriage due to a ULC minister or get the state legislature to pass a new law. Those are the only two way to "fix" it.

A possible third would be to try to file a class action suit....

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You should explain to them that the online service is only a proxy and your credentials are provided by a valid church and they have you in their records at the physical church.

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You should explain to them that the online service is only a proxy and your credentials are provided by a valid church and they have you in their records at the physical church.

But that is no different the the process that was found wanting in the first case.

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Find someone to attempt to invalidate their marriage due to a ULC minister or get the state legislature to pass a new law. Those are the only two way to "fix" it.

A possible third would be to try to file a class action suit....

and a suit requires standing. and money, of course.

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I wouldnt put couple in that kind of potential legal issue where thier marriage could (as has been done in the past) invalidated the marriage.

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Tom...You're on the right path talking to the Iredell County Clerk as is Hrodeberts' suggestion that records are indeed held at a "brick and mortar" (established) facility by a recognized church.

Unless your daughter has already set a church or place to be married, there is yet another option, a boat. As far as I know, every state recognizes a boat Captain as having the solemn right to marry. A ULC minister I know in Merced, CA performed his son's marriage on a river boat (the state escapes memory right now, may have even been out of the country) after being named "Boat Chaplain" by the captain.

But frankly, it sounds to me that you've already gotten your answer from the County Clerk.

Blessings of Peace,

Al

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Remember, county clerks can't interpret laws, just provide them. The brick and mortar issue you bring up doesn't really apply in this case Al as the same held true in the original case since it is the exact same church.

As far as boat captains, I haven't seen that provision in any of the of the states laws that I have read for shallow water boat captain to solemnize a marriage. International waters are a different story. Not saying no state has it, but not the ones I have looked at and is not present in NC's statute.

A better option is actually being affiliated with a religious group within the state in some formally recognized pastoral position (like associate pastor).

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Well I don't feel ( time and money ) like starting a lawsuit ( class action or otherwise) just to marry my daughter in NC, but I will pursue the issue a little further with the clerk. Or she can come to Michigan and I'll marry them here if she really wants me to do it...

Thanks alll

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WRT post #17.... Well....numerous states have "vessel Captains" for larger boats.

There's even a "floating wedding chapel" in Clearwater, FL that will come to you and makes regular rounds to various ports, docks and piers just for weddings. Just saw that the other night on Travel Channel - "Amazing House Boats". The Captain even said he's only authorized aboard his vessel to perform weddings. The circumstances I referred to...I certainly didn't mean some dude with a 20 fishing skiff....and I e-mailed my friend that did his son and his response was Louisiana on a paddle boat..."Pride of the Mississippi" in 2004. As for what is stated in state laws, I don't know, I just know he would have no reason to scam me.

My whole theory here is to give ideas for people stuck in any given dilemma...check things out from a different perspective, often just by doing so thinking caps get put in place and lights go on.

I've started tattoo studio in areas where it was "not allowed" because the county had no health code...soooo....I wrote the code for Humboldt County and revised the the one in Trinity County. I even aiding in getting state law changed in Utah and for New York City when I was on the tat assoc. advisors board....the whole purpose of spouting off ideas is simple....when some idiot bureaucrat says "no"...say "Thank you!" and pursue one's endeavors. Sometimes it takes a lot of work, other times a phone call.

Going back to the response Tom got from Iredell County.....

North Carolina has no such requirement. NC statutes are broad as to who may perform a ceremony, citing a valid and sufficient marriage can be created by an "ordained minister of any religious denomination, a minister authorized by a church or a magistrate."

However, in Sandra Lynch v. Universal Life Church (1985) a ceremony solemnized by a layman who bought for $10.00 a mail order certificate giving him "credentials of minister" in the Universal Life Church, Inc., was not a ceremony of marriage to be recognized for purposes of bigamy prosecution. One might conclude that ordainment credentials obtained from an online service, similar to a mail order service, may not be sufficient.

....seems to me, all the clerk is saying is that for the purposes of the bigamy case, it didn't apply and that NC has "broad recognition" of "wedding officiants"...not in any means that it is not legalfor Tom to do the ceremony. To me, all he's saying is if using the bigamy case, "one might conclude" such, otherwise I'm sure he would have referenced "as does Iredell County" or "so do we" etc. In looking this up for NC, I do not see any language that states "except ULC", all I see is licensed officiate...anyone having authority to marry etc which we all agree any ULC minister does.

I think Tom has a green light unless the clerk wishes to express in clearer language he can not.

Blessings of Peace,

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Al, again clerks are not allowed to give legal advice, just present the laws. To speak intelligently on this subject, you have to 1. Read the whole chapter on marriage in the NC code as well as 2. Read the whole series of lawsuits as well as actually read the whole of the ruling.

From your posts, it seems clear you haven't done either.

Now working in the context of "likelihood", unless either the daughter or future husband later tries to invalidate the marriage (rather then divorce) on the grounds the marriage was not solemnized properly. Basically the odds of anyone getting in trouble is slim.

I still advise against it using a ULC (or other similar ordination) as the sole basis of authority.

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