Minister Licensing Requirements in the State of Oregon
A guide to performing marriage.
You have been asked to perform a wedding and you want to learn more about the process. Continue reading to learn the steps that you must take to perform marriage in the State of Oregon as an AMM minister.
Minister Licensing Summary
No Minister Registration Required Oregon Revised Statutes 106.120
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:
- All people, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation, have the right to marry.
- It is the right of every couple to choose who will solemnize their marriage.
- 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 allowing our tenets to coexist with personal beliefs. We encourage people of all backgrounds to 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.
A wedding is a momentus spiritual event, but the legal act of solemnizing marriage involves nothing more than signing a piece of paper. We believe that completion of this legal act does not necessitate the time, expense, and academia of a traditional seminarial degree. The act of solemnizing marriage historically belonged exclusively to the people; it is only recently that marriage has become the domain of the state.
Our ordination is informed by these facts - we exist to protect the right of all people to solemnize marriage. 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:
- Complying with any applicable government regulations.
- Preparing what you will say for the ceremony.
We will discuss both steps in more detail below, but to fully utilize our resources we recommend you register the wedding using the AMM Wedding Helper - a free tool AMM Ministers can use to prepare for performing marriage.
a. Minister Licensing Requirements
In Oregon 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 Oregon.
The only step you need to take to have the legal authority to perform marriage is to become an AMM minister. Our ordination is free and does not expire. You do not need prior ministerial experience and we welcome people of all beliefs and backgrounds.
If you would like to confirm for yourself that you do not need to register with the Oregon State Government, you can contact the in the locality where the marriage is taking place:
Please select a county to view their specific contact information.
Please be aware that government workers are prohibited from giving anything that may be construed as legal advice. As such they may provide indirect answers if asked pointed questions. Regarding the legality of performing marriage, the most important question to ask is "I am an AMM minister. Will you dutifully record the completed marriage license if I officiate the wedding and the marriage license has been properly completed and returned within the timeframe specified by the State?".
Though not required, we encourage you to order your Oregon Minister Licensing Package. The minister licensing package includes your Ordination Certificate and Letter of Good Standing and is good to keep for your own records.
Standard shipping for all orders is 3-10 business days, depending on where in the country your package is being shipped. We also offer expedited shipping methods in case you are on a tighter timeline.
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. Hakuna Matata! Plan ahead, practice, and you will do a great job.
A typical wedding ceremony is only 10-20 minutes long, and follows a time tested format. Remember that you have been personally chosen by the couple, so when you go to speak 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 looking to refresh your knowledge, visit the Wedding Training section of our site.
Our Wedding Training resources will walk you through a wedding ceremony discussing the structure, providing a sample, 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. Setting aside the time to practice is invaluable. 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 the wedding. This part is all up to you. Have fun!
Handling the Marriage License
This is the legal component, filling out a form and signing your name. In the eyes of the state, solemnizing marriage is simply acting as a third party administering a contract (the marriage license) between two people.
On the wedding day, either before or after the ceremony, the couple will present you with their marriage license. Your job is to look over the information, confirm that it is accurate, and complete your portion of the license.
Marriage Licenses can vary dramatically in appearance, but they all ask for a similar set of information. Once the license is in front of you it should be clear. Our Handling the Marriage License page explains all of the forms that may appear on a marriage license.
Once completed, you or the couple return the license to its issuing office (usually by mail). In Oregon the completed marriage license must be returned within 5 days of the wedding. The Marriage License is then recorded and forwarded to a state office, that state office records it, and the marriage becomes a legal binding contract.
About the Marriage License (FOR THE COUPLE)
* The information in this box is not for the minister, but for the couple. Regardless we have included this information here for reference.
The marriage license is the legal document of marriage filed for by the couple from the County Clerk before the wedding day. The marriage license is the document absolutely required for the marriage to be legal in the eyes of the State.
Oregon Marriage License Info:
Issuing Office: County Clerk
Waiting Period: 3 days before completing
Expiration: 60 Days
Return: 5 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 May 23rd, 2015, American Marriage Ministries has ordained 6,186 AMM Ministers in the State of Oregon, who have registered 1,431 weddings. What's This?Top
Oregon Revised Statutes
106.120 Who may solemnize marriage; fee; personal payment; records
(1) As used in this section, ?judicial officer? means:
(a) A judicial officer of this state as that term is defined in ORS 1.210 and includes but is not limited to a judge of a municipal court and a justice of the peace.
(b) An active judge of a federal court.
(c) An active United States magistrate judge.
(2) Marriages may be solemnized by:
(a) A judicial officer;
(b) A county clerk;
(c) Religious congregations or organizations as indicated in ORS 106.150 (2); or
(d) A clergyperson of any religious congregation or organization who is authorized by the congregation or organization to solemnize marriages.
(3) A person authorized to solemnize marriages under subsection (2) of this section may solemnize a marriage anywhere in this state.
(4)(a) When a marriage is solemnized by a tax, appellate or circuit judge of this state, the clerk of the court or the county clerk shall collect a fee of $25 and deposit the fee in the Judicial Department Operating Account established in ORS 1.009.
(b) When a marriage is solemnized by a county clerk, the county clerk shall collect a fee of $25, as provided in ORS 205.320.
(c) The fee described in this subsection may be collected only if:
(A) The marriage is solemnized during normal working hours, excluding holidays;
(B) The marriage is solemnized in court facilities or a county clerk?s office; or
(C) More than a minimal amount of staff time or other court or county clerk?s office resources are used in connection with the solemnization.
(d) The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court or the county clerk may establish a written procedure for waiver of the fee required under this subsection in exigent circumstances, including but not limited to indigency of the parties to the marriage.
(5) In addition to any fee collected under subsection (4) of this section, a judicial officer of this state and a county clerk may charge and accept an agreed upon personal payment not to exceed $100 plus actual costs for the solemnization of a marriage if that solemnization is performed:
(a) At a place other than the courthouse where the judicial officer or county clerk serves; or
(b) Outside of the judicial officer?s or county clerk?s normal working hours.
(6) The charging and accepting of a personal payment by a judicial officer of this state or a county clerk under subsection (5) of this section does not constitute a violation of any of the provisions of ORS chapter 244.
(7) The amount of actual costs charged by a judicial officer of this state or a county clerk under subsection (5) of this section may not exceed:
(a) Actual expenses for food and lodging as verified by receipts.
(b) If travel is made by personal vehicle, the actual number of round-trip miles from the judicial officer?s or county clerk?s home or office, whichever is greater, compensated at the rate of reimbursement then provided by the State of Oregon to its employees or, if travel is made by a commercial carrier, reimbursement shall be made of the actual costs thereof, verified by receipts.
(8) A judicial officer of this state or a county clerk shall maintain records of the amount of personal payments received for performing marriages, of actual costs and the supporting documentation related thereto for a period of four years.
(9) The parties to a marriage solemnized by a tax, appellate or circuit judge of this state shall show to the judge proof of payment of the fee required under subsection (4)(a) of this section before solemnization. Except as provided in subsection (4)(d) of this section, the judge may not solemnize a marriage without proof of payment of the fee.
Volume 3 - Title 11: Domestic Relations - Chapter 106: Marriage
[Amended by 1971 c.621 Â§22; 1975 c.607 Â§22; 1977 c.518 Â§2; 1979 c.724 Â§3; 1979 c.833 Â§24; 1981 c.176 Â§1; 1991 c.282 Â§1; 1991 c.458 Â§1; 1997 c.424 Â§1; 1999 c.776 Â§1; 2001 c.501 Â§1; 2003 c.565 Â§1; 2003 c.737 Â§111]