Monday, July 26, 2004

Solemnize This!

I was not aware that plain folk could perform a wedding ceremony in Massachusetts until last year. Long-term friends who a delightfully checkered past with each other said that after several years of living together that they would marry. I was pleased, then more so when she said that any adult in the commonwealth could do the deed, so long as the governor approved.

Mirabile dictu!, as we used to say 1500 years ago in Rome.

Sure enough, you can see the details at the secretary of state's pages. You can also download the application as a PDF file.

The rules have change a little since I did that wedding last year. Now:
  • You can only do one a year.
  • You can get the form online instead of mailing a request to the governor
  • You have to pay your $25 up front.
  • You don't have to trot down to a state office to get the certificate embossed with the seal by hand.
  • They mail the certificate.

The basics remain the same, to wit:
  • You ask the governor for the right to marry one couple on one day in one town.
  • You fill in a form with the names, addresses and birth dates of the couple and yourself.
  • You cite the date and town of the marriage.
  • You write your check for $25.
  • You include a character reference letter from someone other than the couple.
  • You mail the package to the secretary of the commonwealth.
  • You wait up to six weeks.

Some kind of magic happens. Allegedly they check your criminal record and eyeball the reference. They may also check the couple to see whether either is already married in Massachusetts.

It's fairly painless for the annual thrill of being a minister without the heavy praying, sermon writing or counseling.

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