Minister Licensing Requirements in the State of Oregon
A guide to performing marriage.
Regulations vary throughout the country, and it is important for ministers and couples to be informed. Continue reading to learn about performing 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 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:
- Complying with any applicable government regulations.
- 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 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 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 Oregon State government, you can contact the local County Clerk office's where the couple will apply for their marriage license:
Please select a county 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 soley 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 Oregon, completed marriage licenses must be returned within 5 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 [state] must file for a marriage license with the County Clerk's office before their wedding day. The state will not recognize a marriage without a marriage license.
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 July 4th, 2015, American Marriage Ministries has ordained 6,186 AMM Ministers in the State of Oregon, who have registered 1,477 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]