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Hawaii considers a new civil license to solemnize marriages

Published Friday, Apr. 16th, 2021

Cover image via 's County pages

Very soon, the Hawaii Senate will decide whether or not to offer civil licenses to solemnize marriage. These licenses would be available to any adult in the state, even those who aren’t affiliated with or ordained by a religious denomination or society. 


The bill, first introduced in April, has already moved through the Senate and House, and is now being reviewed again in its amended form. It would amend Section §572-12 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, authorizing the creation of a new type of civil license, and allowing any individual over the age of 18 with this license to perform marriage. 


(See updated status of this bill below.)


This license would cost $100 a year, and would be valid for at least 2 years. All other laws for solemnizing marriage in the state would still need to be followed. 



According to the current draft of Hawaii Senate Bill No. 157 : 


(b) A civil license to solemnize marriages may be issued to, and the marriage rite may be performed and solemnized by, any individual at least eighteen years of age, upon presentation to the individual of a license to marry, as prescribed by this chapter. An individual with a civil license to solemnize a marriage may receive the price stipulated by the parties or the gratification tendered. The civil license shall be valid for no less than two years from the date of its issuance. The fee for a civil license shall be $100 per year the permit is valid. An individual who performs a solemnization of a marriage pursuant to a civil license issued under this subsection shall obtain the prior written consent of each person for whom a solemnization is performed and fulfill all provisions of sections 572-13 and 572-15 applicable to persons authorized to solemnize marriages.



Hawaii isn’t the first state to consider civil licenses for wedding officiants, and several states already offer one-time designations to lay individuals to perform marriage ceremonies. 


In fact, states frequently reconsider who can solemnize marriage. For example: New York is currently considering a measure (SB 739)  that would allow lay individuals (those not ordained with a religious organization or society) to perform a wedding for one day only, and Indiana is considering another measure (SB 186) that would allow a prosecuting attorney or deputy prosecuting attorney to solemnize a marriage.

We’ll continue to keep an eye on what Hawaii decides for wedding officiants in the state! 



Update May 24, 2021

HB 157 was enrolled to the Governor on April 29, shortly before Sine Die (May 3). The Hawaii legislature's rules state that the Governor has 45 days after Sine Die to pass,
veto or allow bill to become law without signature.





You can get ordained for free online with AMM right now. 


It only takes a minute, and there’s no cost. Our ordinations allow you to officiate marriage in any US state or territory, including Hawaii! 


AMM ordains people of all faiths (or no spiritual beliefs at all), all backgrounds, and all walks of life, and we don’t require you to hold any specific religious or spiritual beliefs. 


Once you're ordained, you'll need to register as an officiant with the Hawaii Department of Health before you officiate a wedding:




( this article features Haleakalā National Park, Hawaii ! )




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