July 25th, 2009

Quirky marriage laws

I was just looking up the marriage laws in Oregon to see who is eligible to perform marriages. In doing so, I came across this gem:
106.130 Validity of marriage solemnized by unauthorized person. A marriage solemnized before any person professing to be a judicial officer of this state, a county clerk or a clergyperson of a religious congregation or organization therein is not void, nor shall the validity thereof be in any way affected, on account of any want of power or authority in such person, if such person was acting at the time in the office or the capacity of a person authorized to solemnize marriage and if such marriage is consummated with the belief on the part of the persons so married, or either of them, that they have been lawfully joined in marriage. [Amended by 1979 c.724 §4; 2001 c.501 §5]

In other words, as long as the people getting married believe that the person is qualified to marry them, it counts. Or as my friend Kevan said when I told him this, "So anyone can marry gullible people?"

While the people being married are really married in this case, the faux officiant can get up to a year in jail or a $500 fine.