New law lets adults easily officiate weddings in New York state


Any New Yorker over 18 can apply for a “one-day designation,” allowing them to officiate a marriage in New York state under new legislation signed into law by Gov. Kathy Hochul.

The law streamlines the process for more adults to solemnize marriages on single-ceremony bases.

State law previously allowed only certain individuals to officiate marriages, including clergy members, the mayors of cities or other municipalities, or judges.

“Joining individuals in marriage is a beautiful moment that should be shared with an officiant selected by the spouses-to-be,” Hochul said in a Wednesday press release. “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.”

Prior to the law, laypeople seeking to officiate weddings often got ordained through online ministries.

A memo from Hochul approving the legislation notes that town and city clerks, who are primarily responsible for issuing marriage licenses, will oversee the new application process for one-day officiants. The law goes into effect at the end of March.


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