AMERICAN WEDDINGS BLOG

Published: Friday, May. 1st, 2020

Tags: marriage-licenses, marriage-law, county-clerk, coronavirus, virtual-weddings

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California allows couples to obtain marriage licenses and solemnize marriage via video conference

Govnewsomca

Golden State wedding officiants can now perform Skype weddings!

 

California has joined New York as one of the states that will allow couples to obtain their marriage license online and get married via video conference – but only for the next 60 days.

 

On April 30, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order that will, through the month of June, allow couples to apply for their marriage license via video conference "at the discretion of county clerks."

 

Couples can also solemnize their marriage via video conference “as long as both parties are present, and have at least one witness who can join the live video conference.”

 

Below, we have included the original copy of Governor Newsom’s order, since we think it's important that officiants read and understand the policies exactly as they are published. 

 

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT:

 

1) Notwithstanding Family Code section 359 or section 426, or any other provision of law, adult applicants to be married may, in the discretion of the county clerk, be permitted to appear before a county clerk to obtain a marriage license via videoconference, rather than in person, if all of the following requirements are met:

 

a) Both applicants are physically present within the State of California, and present such proof of this fact (which may include, but need not be limited to, oral attestation) as the county clerk may require; 

 

b) The videoconference includes both live video and live audio; and 

 

c) During the videoconference, each applicant presents (via videoconference) photo identification consistent with Family Code section 354. 

 

A marriage license issued using the procedure set forth in this Paragraph 1 may be transmitted to the applicants via e-mail or other electronic means. 

 

2) Notwithstanding Family Code section 501 or section 502, or any other provision of law, the procedure set forth in Paragraph 1 may also be used in connection with the issuance of a confidential marriage license, for applicants who are otherwise eligible to obtain a confidential marriage license. 

 

3) Notwithstanding Family Code sections 420–422 or any other provision of law, the solemnization of a marriage may occur via videoconference that includes both live video and live audio—in which both parties to be married, the person solemnizing the marriage, and at least one necessary witness (and not more than two such witnesses, as set forth in Family Code sections 420 and 422(b)) all participate—in which the parties to be married declare (while visible and audible to the person solemnizing the marriage and any necessary witnesses) that they take each other as spouses. Additional persons invited by the parties may, but need not, also observe the videoconference. 

 

Before the solemnization of a marriage pursuant to this Paragraph 3, one or both of the parties to be married shall transmit the marriage license via e-mail or other electronic means to the person solemnizing the marriage and to any necessary witnesses. 

 

Neither the person solemnizing the marriage nor any necessary witnesses need be physically present within the State of California during the solemnization of a marriage pursuant to this Order. 

 

4) Notwithstanding Family Code section 506 or any other provision of law, the solemnization of a confidential marriage may occur via videoconference that includes both live video and live audio, in which both parties to be married and the person solemnizing the marriage all participate, and in which the parties to be married declare (while visible and audible to the person solemnizing the marriage) that they take each other as spouses. 

 

Before the solemnization of a confidential marriage pursuant to this Paragraph 4, one or both of the parties to be married shall transmit the marriage license via e-mail or other electronic means to the person solemnizing the marriage. 

 

A person solemnizing a confidential marriage pursuant to this Order need not be physically present within the State of California during the solemnization of the marriage. 

 

5) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, whenever any provision of law (including, but not limited to, Family Code sections 422–423 or section 506) requires the entry of a signature or other information upon a marriage license or certificate (or any other document required in connection with the act of marriage), a photocopy, scan, or other electronic reproduction of that signature or other information shall have the same legal effect as an original signature, and any legible copy of the marriage license or certificate (or other applicable document) transmitted via e-mail or other electronic means shall have the same legal effect as the original. 

 

6) Nothing in this Order shall in any way alter the grounds for denial of a marriage license set forth in Family Code section 352. Nothing in this Order shall in any way restrict the authority of a county clerk to examine the applicants for a marriage license on oath or to require additional documentary proof as set forth in Family Code section 354. Any procedures related to such examination and proof (including, but not limited, to the reduction of the examination to writing and related signatures) may—but need not—be completed via e-mail or otherwise electronically, in the discretion of the county clerk. 

 

7) The provisions of this Executive Order shall expire 60 days after issuance, unless further extended by future Executive Order

 

This is excellent news for wedding officiants in California, since the order provides clarity on the matter and allows them to continue marrying couples without risk of exposure to the Coronavirus.

But remember, this order is only temporary, and will cease at the end of June 2020.

 


 

Be sure to check back in with us here at American Weddings to stay up to date with wedding ceremonies in the time of Coronavirus.

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Become a Wedding Officiant with Our Free Online Ordination!