Rhode Island Marriage Laws

15-3.1-4 - Certification of civil unions

Related Pages


State of Rhode Island General Laws ? Title 15: Domestic Relations ? Chapter 15-3.1 : Civil Unions

Certification of civil unions

Officials empowered to certify persons in civil unions: (1) Every ordained clergy or elder in good standing, every justice of the supreme court, superior court, family court, workers' compensation court, district court or traffic tribunal, the clerk of the supreme court, every clerk or general chief clerk of a superior court, family court, district court, or traffic tribunal, magistrates, special or general magistrates of the superior court, family court, traffic tribunal or district court, administrative clerks of the district court, administrators of the workers' compensation court, every former justice or judge and former administrator of these courts and every former chief clerk of the district court, and every former clerk or general chief clerk of a superior court, the secretary of the senate, elected clerks of the general assembly, any former secretary of the senate or any former elected clerk of the general assembly who retires after July 1, 2007, judges of the United States appointed pursuant to Article III of the United States Constitution, bankruptcy judges appointed pursuant to Article I of the United States Constitution, and United States magistrate judges appointed pursuant to federal law, may certify a civil union in any city or town in this state; and every justice and every former justice of the municipal courts of the cities and towns in this state and of the police court of the town of Johnston and every probate judge and every former probate judge may certify a civil union in any city or town in this state, and wardens of the town of New Shoreham may certify persons in civil unions in New Shoreham. (2) Every certification of a civil union shall be held in the presence of at least two (2) witnesses besides the person officiating the certification and no minister, justice or other authorized person shall perform the civil union certification until the persons to be certified in a civil union have presented him or her the license named in this section. (3) Every minister, justice, or other authorized person who certifies any persons in a civil union shall endorse the "License and Certificate of Civil Union" presented to him or her by the persons and certify that the persons were certified in a civil union in accordance with the laws of the State of Rhode Island and the person who certifies the parties in the civil union shall complete all the information on the "License and Certificate of Civil Union" and file the form within ninety- six (96) hours following the date of the civil union certification with the clerk in the town or city from which the license was issued. (4) The town or city clerk to whom the civil union certificate is returned shall carefully file and preserve the return. (5) If any person has any lawful objection to the civil union of any two (2) persons, he or she may state the objection in writing, under his or her hand, to the minister, justice or other authorized person about to certify the civil union, at which time the minister, justice or other authorized person shall proceed no further in the civil union until the lawful objection has been removed. (6) Every minister, justice, or other authorized person who certifies persons in a civil union without first receiving the license required by this chapter containing the required information, or whenever the certification of the civil union has been lawfully objected to and the impediment is not removed, or when the person certifies parties in a civil union that he or she knows to have a husband, wife, or other civil union partner shall be imprisoned not exceeding six (6) months or fined not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000). (7) No civil union certified before a person professing to have a license or professing to be qualified to certify the civil union shall be deemed or adjudged to be void, nor shall the validity of the civil union be in any way affected by want of jurisdiction or authority in the person by noncompliance with any of the requirements of this chapter, if the civil union is in other respects lawful and has been certified with a full belief on the part of the parties to the civil union, or either of them, that they have lawfully certified in a civil union. (8) Every person who certifies a civil union without being legally authorized to do so shall be fined five hundred dollars ($500). (9) If, as the result of a court decision, any civil union which has occurred in Rhode Island is declared invalid, the court shall order the state registrar of vital records to mark "invalid" the original civil union record on file at the division of vital records and to note the invalidity of the civil union on all other files or references to the civil union. (10) Whoever provides any false information as to the requirements under this chapter, or whoever enters into a civil union without duly proceeding as is required by this chapter, shall be fined not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500).

◀︎ Back to Rhode Island Marriage Laws ︎︎︎︎︎◀︎ Back to Marriage Laws Home

(P.L. 2011, ch. 198, § 1.)

Law Reference:

Law Tag:

Will You
Marry Us?

The wedding gift package revolutionizing how you choose your officiant!

Learn More

Wedding Officiant Package

Everything you need to Officiate Weddings like pro!

Learn More

Minister Ordination

Our most popular package contains everything you need to officiate your first wedding.

Order Now


AMM supports Ocean Conservancy. Check them out!

Donate Now