A notary public to marry?

On March 11, the District of Columbia Council published an intention to introduce legislation, B19-142, the sole outcome of which would be to allow notaries public to solemnize marriage. (PDF)

I’ve been watching for this because I know the person who put the bug into the ear of a member of the Council. (I’m also watching for another bill, but I’ll announce that when it becomes law.) But why would this be a good idea?

  • There’s a shortage of officiants willing to do a non-sectarian or secular service. Surely not a small concern in a town as secular was Washington, and where same-sex marriage is the permitted under the law.
  • Notaries can already execute oaths. Notaries can solemnize marriage in South Carolina.
  • Lawyers, in neighboring Virginia, can solemnize marriage. This would make the process of getting married in D.C. a bit easier.

I think this law would be a improvement, even if — as a credentialed marriage officiant in D.C. — it might cost me some business. (I’ve always been open to conducting a purely secular service because of the shortage of options, but I rarely do a wedding these days.)

The part that makes me smile? I’ve asked my employer to sponsor my commission as a, um, notary public.

3 Replies to “A notary public to marry?”

  1. I was married by a notary in Florida 9 years ago. Think they still do it there too.

  2. I was married by a Justice of the Peace in Maine. He was an old family friend and has “sponsored” us at church. I think more secular wedding options can only be good for the church, honestly.

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