Why get a permit to officiate when I can just go online and get ordained?
Because an online ordination doesn’t give you the right to marry people in New York State.
“By signing this legislation into law, we are eliminating any barriers to becoming an officiant so friends and family members can share such a meaningful time with loved ones of their choosing and have their marriage recognized under New York State law.” – Governor Kathy Hochul December 28th, 2022
New York State has never recognized Online Ordinations as valid credentials to perform marriage ceremonies. Everyone has seen the ads “Click here and become ordained”, and yet with no system in place to verify an officiant’s identity and with a marriage license displaying all of the information needed to perpetrate an identity theft, this has – in the past – always made New York State just say “No”, to ULC, American Marriage Ministries, or any other online-ordained officiants.
Now, after years of trying to find a legal way for friends and family members to perform wedding ceremonies without risking their loved ones being disenfranchised, having their marriage deemed invalid, or having a will contested – “as has been the case for an increasing number of New Yorkers”, according to Huntington Town Clerk Andrew P. Raia – there finally is an option.
The details are still in the works, but in my conversation with Huntington Town Clerk, Andrew Raia, he said that Town Clerks in New York State will begin issuing the one-day, single-event wedding officiant permits, beginning on March 28th of 2023.
The plan so far and what he knows from his office is:
- The officiant permit and marriage license must be issued by the same Town Clerk’s office.
- The permit is event specific. (Date, time and location)
- If officiating more than one ceremony in a day, separate permits are required for each event.
- The officiant must show up in person to apply for their permit and provide a valid photo ID.
- If not appearing with the couple when requesting their permit, the officiant must provide accurate details of the event.
- They must also accurately provide the couple’s information, exactly as it appears on the marriage license.
- The proposed officiant must be able to correctly pronounce the couple’s names.
- There is no waiting period.
- The fee is $25.
Andrew Raia also said that if the couple and intended officiant can all come at the same time as the marriage license is being issued, and that this would be best for expediency, but it is not essential.