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Tennessee Marriage Laws

Tennessee Code 36-3-301 - Persons who may solemnize marriages.

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Persons who may solemnize marriages.

(a) (1) All regular ministers, preachers, pastors, priests, rabbis and other spiritual leaders of every religious belief, more than eighteen (18) years of age, having the care of souls, and all members of the county legislative bodies, county mayors, judges, chancellors, former chancellors and former judges of this state, former county executives or county mayors of this state, former members of quarterly county courts or county commissions, the governor, the speaker of the senate and former speakers of the senate, the speaker of the house of representatives and former speakers of the house of representatives, members and former members of the general assembly who have filed notice pursuant to subsection (l), law enforcement chaplains duly appointed by the heads of authorized state and local law enforcement agencies, members of the legislative body of any municipality in this state, the county clerk of each county, former county clerks of this state who occupied the office of county clerk on or after July 1, 2014, notaries public, and the mayor of any municipality in this state may solemnize the rite of matrimony. For the purposes of this section, the several judges of the United States courts, including United States magistrates, United States bankruptcy judges, and federal administrative law judges, who are citizens of Tennessee are deemed to be judges of this state. The amendments to this section by Acts 1987, ch. 336, which applied provisions of this section to certain former judges, do not apply to any judge who has been convicted of a felony or who has been removed from office. (2) In order to solemnize the rite of matrimony, any such minister, preacher, pastor, priest, rabbi or other spiritual leader must be ordained or otherwise designated in conformity with the customs of a church, temple or other religious group or organization; and such customs must provide for such ordination or designation by a considered, deliberate, and responsible act. Persons receiving online ordinations may not solemnize the rite of matrimony. (3) If a marriage has been entered into by license issued pursuant to this chapter at which any minister officiated before July 1, 2019, the marriage must not be invalid because the requirements of the preceding subdivision (a)(2) have not been met. (b) The traditional marriage rite of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), whereby the parties simply pledge their vows one to another in the presence of the congregation, constitutes an equally effective solemnization. (c) Any gratuity received by a county mayor, county clerk, members of the county legislative body, or municipal mayor for the solemnization of a marriage, whether performed during or after such person's regular working hours, shall be retained by such person as personal remuneration for such services, in addition to any other sources of compensation such person might receive, and such gratuity shall not be paid into the county general fund or the treasury of such municipality. (d) If any marriage has been entered into by license regularly issued at which a county mayor officiated prior to April 24, 1981, such marriage shall be valid and is hereby declared to be in full compliance with the laws of this state. (e) For the purposes of this section, “retired judges of this state” is construed to include persons who served as judges of any municipal or county court in any county that has adopted a metropolitan form of government and persons who served as county judges (judges of the quarterly county court) prior to the 1978 constitutional amendments. (f) If any marriage has been entered into by license regularly issued at which a retired judge of this state officiated prior to April 13, 1984, such marriage shall be valid and is hereby declared to be in full compliance with the laws of this state. (g) If any marriage has been entered into by license issued pursuant to this chapter at which a judicial commissioner officiated prior to March 28, 1991, such marriage is valid and is declared to be in full compliance with the laws of this state. (h) The judge of the general sessions court of any county, and any former judge of any general sessions court, may solemnize the rite of matrimony in any county of this state. Any marriage performed by any judge of the general sessions court in any county of this state before March 16, 1994, shall be valid and declared to be in full compliance with the laws of this state. (i) All elected officials and former officials, who are authorized to solemnize the rite of matrimony pursuant to subsection (a), may solemnize the rite of matrimony in any county of this state. (j) If any marriage has been entered into by license issued pursuant to this chapter at which a county mayor officiated outside such mayor's county prior to May 29, 1997, such marriage is valid and is declared to be in full compliance with the laws of this state. (k) The judge of the municipal court of any municipality, whether elected or appointed, shall have the authority to solemnize the rite of matrimony in any county of the state. (I) In order to solemnize the rite of matrimony pursuant to subdivision (a)(1 ): (1) A member of the general assembly must first opt in by filing notice of the member's intention to solemnize the rite of matrimony with the office of vital records; and (2) A former member of the general assembly must have filed notice pursuant to subdivision (1)(1) while serving in the general assembly.

Code 1858, § 2439 (deriv. Acts 1778, ch. 7, § 2; 1845-1846, ch. 145, § 7); Acts 1879, ch. 98, § 1; 1889, ch. 134, § 1; Shan., § 4189; Code 1932, § 8412; Acts 1949, ch. 251, § 4; C. Supp. 1950, § 8412; Acts 1970, ch. 440, § 1; 1973, ch. 66, § 3; impl. am. Acts 1978, ch. 934, § 7; Acts 1979, ch. 87, § 1; 1981, ch. 211, §§ 1, 2; 1983, ch. 331, §§ 1, 2; T.C.A. (orig. ed.), § 36-415; Acts 1984, ch. 516, § 1; 1987, ch. 146, § 1; 1987, ch. 336, §§ 4, 5; 1988, ch. 471, §§ 1, 2; 1991, ch. 86, § 1; 1992, ch. 911, § 1; 1993, ch. 50, § 1; 1994, ch. 619, § 1; 1995, ch. 94, § 1; 1995, ch. 128, § 1; 1997, ch. 295, §§ 1, 2; 1998, ch. 745, §§ 1, 2; 1999, ch. 526, § 1; 2003, ch. 90, § 2; 2003, ch. 376, § 3; 2005, ch. 21, § 1; 2012, ch. 677, § 1; 2014, ch. 747, § 1; 2015, ch. 159, § 1; 2017, ch. 288, § 1; 2019, ch. 415, §§ 1-4.

solemnization of marriage
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