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Can someone ordained online from the Universal Life Church Monastery legally perform a wedding?

Ken Little


Q. Can someone that has been ordained online from the Universal Life Church Monastery legally perform a wedding in North Carolina?

A. If the marriage was performed after July 3, 1981, “there is a very good chance that marriage is not valid,” said Tammy Beasley, register of deeds for New Hanover County.

Both Beasley and Noelle Talley, spokeswoman for N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper, refer the reader to a section of state law that specifically refers to the church:

“Any marriages performed by ministers of the Universal Life Church prior to July 3, 1981, are validated, unless they have been invalidated by a court of competent jurisdiction, provided that all other requirements of law have been met and the marriages would have been valid if performed by an official authorized by law to perform wedding ceremonies.”

The 1981 law suggests that any marriages performed after that date by a minister of Universal Life Church who was ordained online or otherwise, are invalid.

The Universal Life Church was incorporated in Washington State

According to its website, www.themonastery.org, “The state of North Carolina states that marriages may be performed by an ‘ordained minister of any religious denomination.’ Proof of ordination may be required depending on county law. Minister licensing is required in some locations in North Carolina. In order for marriages to be legal requirements may vary by county.”


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User-contributed question by:
Jerry P.

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