Minister Licensing Requirements in the State of Maine

No Minister Registration Required Maine Revised Statutes 655

Minimum Minister Age: 18 Years

Minister's Residency: Irrelevant

Same-Sex Marriage Recognized: Yes

How to Perform Marriage

1. Become an Ordained Minister

American Marriage Ministries is a non-profit, interfaith and non-denominational church with the mission to ensure that all people have the right to perform marriage. We offer ordination to all people, regardless of religious background or spiritual philosophy, that agree with our three tenets:

  1. All people, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation, have the right to marry.
  2. It is the right of every couple to choose who will solemnize their marriage.
  3. All people have the right to solemnize marriage.

Applying to become an AMM Minister is not a declaration of exclusive faith; it is an act of fellowship, allowing our tenets to coexist with personal beliefs. We believe that people of all backgrounds can find community within the simple tenets of our faith.

About Our Ordination

The AMM ordination is free, requires no special course of study, and takes only a moment. Our goal is to help people on their path to performing marriage for friends and family.

The act of solemnizing marriage historically belonged to the people, and only recently has it become the domain of the state. A marriage is a momentus spiritual event, but the legal act of solemnizing marriage is nothing more than signing a piece of paper; a task that does not necessitate the time, expense, and academia of a traditional seminarial degree.

If you have been asked by people close to you to solemnize their marriage, we believe you have the right to.

2. Prepare for Performing Marriage

Preparing to officiate a wedding involves two major steps:

  1. Complying with any applicable government regulations.
  2. Preparing what you will say for the ceremony.

We will discuss both steps below, but to fully utilize our resources we recommend that you register the wedding that you will perform with the AMM Wedding Helper - a free tool for AMM Ministers.

a. Minister Licensing Requirements

In Maine, no laws exist requiring ministers to register with any government office in order to perform marriage, though all wedding officiants must be at least 18 years of age. Same-sex marriages are recognized in Maine.

The only step you need to take to have authority to perform marriage is to become an AMM Minister. You do not need prior ministerial experience.

If you would like to confirm for yourself that you do not need to register with the Maine State government, you can contact the local Town Clerk office's where the couple will apply for their marriage license:

Please select a municipality to view their specific contact information.

Please be aware that non-attorney government workers are prohibited from giving legal advice. If you ask about legal issues, you will likely receive indirect answers. Regarding your rights as an AMM Minister, the most important question to ask is "I am a minister. If I officiate a wedding and the marriage license is been properly completed and returned within the timeframe specified by the State, will you dutifully record the license?".

Though not required, we encourage you to order a Minister Licensing Package. The Minister Licensing Package includes documentation of your ordination, materials to aid you in performing marriage, and an AMM Minister's manual. AMM is supported solely through the sale of books and packages.

b. Preparing the Ceremony

Many AMM Ministers get ordained to perform their first marriage and are often unsure of the process. Aside from legal concerns, the biggest fear most people have is public speaking. Plan ahead, practice, and you will do a great job!

A typical wedding ceremony is only 10 - 20 minutes and follows a time tested format. When you speak, remember that you were personally chosen by the couple, and that the most important two people already have faith in your ability. Weddings are a celebration with friends and family – the best audience anyone could ask for.

If you have never conducted a wedding or are simply want to refresh your knowledge, visit the Wedding Training section.

Our resources are here to walk you through a wedding ceremony, discussing structure, providing samples, and more.

Every wedding is unique, and the couple will want to personalize the format of their ceremony. Since you already know them, you should have no trouble collaborating and choosing your words for the ceremony.

Once the script is set, we highly recommend that you rehearse the ceremony by yourself and in front of friends. With enough practice, you will be fully prepared to confidently officiate your first wedding.

3. Officiate the Wedding

By this point you should be fully prepared to officiate. Perform the ceremony and have fun!

Handling the Marriage License

After the ceremony it is time for official recordkeeping. The couple will present their marriage license for you and the witnesses. The minister's job is to look over the license, confirm that the information is accurate, and complete the officiant's section.

In the eyes of the state, solemnizing marriage is the act of administering a contract (the marriage license) between two people.

Marriage licenses vary dramatically in appearance, but all ask for a similar set of information. Our How to Complete a Marriage License page explains all of the details that may be required on a marriage license.

Once completed, you or the couple must return the license to its office of issuance (usually by mail). In Maine, completed marriage licenses must be returned within 15 days of the wedding. The license is then recorded by the state and the marriage becomes a legal binding contract.

About the Marriage License (FOR THE COUPLE)

* This information is not for the minister but for the couple, and is included for reference.

Couples getting married in Maine must file for a marriage license with the Town Clerk's office before their wedding day. The state will not recognize a marriage without a marriage license.

Maine Marriage License Info:

Issuing Office: Town Clerk

Statewide License Cost: $40

Waiting Period: 3 days to receive

Expiration: 90 Days

Return: 15 Days from Wedding

Waiting Period: The minimum amount of time the couple must wait to get married from the date that they are granted their marriage license.

Expiration: The amount of time that the marriage license is valid from its issuance date.

Return: The amount of time that the completed marriage license must be returned after the wedding.

That’s all there is to it!

As of February 23rd, 2018, American Marriage Ministries has ordained 644 AMM Ministers in the State of Maine, who have registered 411 weddings. What's This?


Maine Revised Statutes

Solemnization Of Marriage

655 Authorization; penalties

1. Persons authorized to solemnize marriages. The following may solemnize marriages in this State:
A. If a resident of this State:
(1) A justice or judge;
(2) A lawyer admitted to the Maine Bar; or
(4) A notary public under Title 4, chapter 19; [2011, c. 111, §2 (AMD).]
B. Whether a resident or nonresident of this State and whether or not a citizen of the United States:
(1) An ordained minister of the gospel;
(2) A cleric engaged in the service of the religious body to which the cleric belongs; or
(3) A person licensed to preach by an association of ministers, religious seminary or ecclesiastical body; and [2011, c. 111, §3 (AMD).]
C. A nonresident of the State who has a temporary registration certificate issued by the Office of Data, Research and Vital Statistics pursuant to subsection 1-A. [2011, c. 111,§4 (NEW).]
[ 2011, c. 111, §§2-4 (AMD) .]
1-A. Temporary registration certificate. The Office of Data, Research and Vital Statistics may issue a temporary registration certificate to solemnize a marriage ceremony to an individual who is a resident of another state and who is authorized under the laws of that state to solemnize marriages.
A. An individual seeking a temporary registration certificate under this subsection must submit to the Office of Data, Research and Vital Statistics:
(1) A copy of a valid commission or other indicia of authority to perform marriage ceremonies in the individual's state of residence as proof of existence of the authority;
(2) A copy of the other state's statute that grants the individual authority to solemnize marriages in that state;
(3) The names and residences of the 2 parties whose marriage the individual proposes to solemnize and the expected date of the marriage ceremony; and
(4) A $100 registration fee. [2011, c. 111, §5 (NEW).]
B. Upon finding that the individual has satisfied the requirements of paragraph A, the Office of Data, Research and Vital Statistics shall issue to the individual a temporary registration certificate authorizing the individual to solemnize the marriage of the parties whose names were provided pursuant to paragraph A, subparagraph (3). The Office of Data, Research and Vital Statistics may decline to issue a temporary registration certificate if complaints filed against the individual for actions in this State have been substantiated or for other good cause, even if the state in which the individual is authorized to solemnize marriages has not taken disciplinary action. [2011, c. 111, §5 (NEW).]
C. A temporary registration certificate does not authorize the individual to solemnize any marriage other than the marriage of the parties provided pursuant to paragraph A, subparagraph (3). [2011, c. 111, §5 (NEW).]
D. A temporary registration certificate under this subsection expires upon the individual's signing the marriage license or 90 days after issuance, whichever occurs first. [2011, c. 111, §5 (NEW).]
E. The Office of Data, Research and Vital Statistics shall keep a permanent record of all temporary registration certificates issued under this subsection. The records must contain the name and residence of each individual to whom a temporary registration certificate is issued. [2011, c. 111, §5 (NEW).]
[ 2011, c. 111, §5 (NEW) .]

2. Enforcement. The State Registrar of Vital Statistics shall enforce this section as far as it comes within the state registrar's power and shall notify the district attorney of the county in which the penalty should be enforced of the facts that have come to the state registrar's knowledge. Upon receipt of this notice, the district attorney shall prosecute the person who violated this section.
[ 1995, c. 694, Pt. B, §2 (NEW); 1995, c. 694, Pt. E, §2 (AFF) .]

3. Religious exemption. This chapter does not require any member of the clergy to perform or any church, religious denomination or other religious institution to host any marriage in violation of the religious beliefs of that member of the clergy, church, religious denomination or other religious institution. The refusal to perform or host a marriage under this subsection cannot be the basis for a lawsuit or liability and does not affect the tax-exempt status of the church, religious denomination or other religious institution.
[ IB 2011, c. 1, §4 (NEW) .]

Title 19-A: Domestic Relations - Part 2: Married Persons - Chapter 23: Marriage - Subchapter 1: General Provisions

SECTION HISTORY 1995, c. 694, §B2 (NEW). 1995, c. 694, §E2 (AFF). 2001, c. 574, §6 (AMD). IB 2011, c. 1, §4 (AMD). 2011, c. 111, §§2-5 (AMD).

Minister Licensing Requirements in: