a marriage ceremony performed by a notary public of the State of Florida
"legal and binding"? Is a Florida notary public authorized to
perform a marriage ceremony outside the state, or may a notary from another
state perform a marriage ceremony in Florida?
Florida is one of only three states (the other two are South Carolina
and Maine) who authorize their notaries public to "solemnize the
rites of matrimony." §117.045, Florida Statutes. The Florida
notary may perform a marriage ceremony providing the couple first obtain
a marriage license from an authorized Florida official and may only perform
such ceremony within the geographical boundaries of Florida. Thus, a Florida
notary could not perform a marriage ceremony in another state. Additionally,
a notary from another state, including South Carolina and Maine, could
not perform a marriage ceremony in Florida. And, a Florida notary may
not marry a couple who has obtained a marriage license from another state.
There are many factors which determine the validity of a marriage. Assuming,
though, that the notary public is duly appointed and commissioned at the
time of the ceremony, that both the bride and the groom are qualified
to be joined in marriage, that the couple have obtained the required marriage
license, and that the marriage ceremony is performed in Florida, the marriage
would be "legal and binding." Florida law will presume a marriage
to be legal until otherwise shown. An attorney may be able to be provide
more specific information, if required.
officials are authorized in Florida to perform a marriage ceremony?
Section 741.07, Florida Statutes, provides that the following
persons are authorized to solemnize matrimony:
judicial officers (judges)
state judicial officers
judges serving in a court with jurisdiction over a part of this state
(per Attorney General informal opinion, May 14, 1996)
of the Circuit Court. Note: Section 28.06 authorizes Clerks to appoint
deputy clerks who have all the same powers of the Clerk.
ordained ministers of the Gospel, elders, or other ordained clergy,
if in good standing with his or her affiliate church or denomination
members of the Society of Friends (Quakers)
Not Authorized to Perform Marriage
of Compensation Claims
to Attorney General Opinions 072-262 (August 11, 1972) and 92-62 (September
3, 1992), neither a state attorney nor a judge of compensation claims
is a judicial officer of this state, and therefore, is not authorized
to solemnize marriage.
a notary public permitted to perform a marriage ceremony for two
persons of the same sex?
No. Florida law prohibits same-sex marriages.
public or other authorized person may not perform a marriage ceremony
without a marriage license issued in accordance with the requirements
set forth in Chapter 741 of the Florida Statutes (§ 741.08). Florida
law further provides that a marriage license may not be issued unless:
- both parties
sign an affidavit reciting their true and correct ages,
- both parties
meet the age requirement or comply with the special provisions set forth
for those individuals under the age of 18 years, and
- one party
is male and the other party is female.
741.04 & 741.0405, Fla. Stat.
notaries may not perform a marriage ceremony for two persons of the same
sex. If they choose to participate in an unofficial ceremony "uniting"
two persons of the same sex, they must not do so in their official capacity
as a notary public of the State of Florida.
"solemnizing the rites of matrimony," is it acceptable for the
notary public to complete the marriage certificate
without actually performing a marriage ceremony?
No. Completing the marriage certificate portion of the marriage
record is not the same act as performing the marriage ceremony. Actually,
the certificate is the notary's way of certifying that he or she performed
the ceremony. A notary should not falsely certify that a ceremony was
performed when, in fact, one had not been.
The ceremony does not have to be in any particular form. Any form of ceremony
to solemnize a marriage that the parties choose ordinarily suffices, so
long as there is an agreement by words of present assent. The words used
or the ceremony performed are mere evidence of a present intention and
agreement of the parties. A marriage ceremony is usually performed for
the sake of notoriety and certainty and must be conducted by a person
authorized by law to perform the ceremony.