Pennsylvania-Pittsburgh

self uniting license

So we plan on getting a self uniting license and then allowing my cousin to officiate the ceremony. My questions are, if we ever move out of pa will our marriage still be considered valid, also, if down the road pa decides to stop allowing self uniting marriages, would ours then be considered invalid? Thank you!
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Re: self uniting license

  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/local-wedding-boards_pennsylvania-pittsburgh_self-uniting-license?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Local%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:116Discussion:51eb613e-466c-47f8-9904-92600eae64a6Post:f1a4f0e9-3bbd-4786-b354-15c331119263">self uniting license</a>:
    [QUOTE]So we plan on getting a self uniting license and then allowing my cousin to officiate the ceremony. My questions are, if we ever move out of pa will our marriage still be considered valid, also, if down the road pa decides to stop allowing self uniting marriages, would ours then be considered invalid? Thank you!
    Posted by Wynter010Beauty[/QUOTE]
    Hey!  I just got married by self uniting a few weeks ago so I will try to answer your questions.

    Your marriage is legally vaild in all states, so no matter where you live/move your marriage is valid.  My husband and I actually live in Virginia and while our state does not do self uniting marriages, they honor the marriage license we received from PA.  You are given a marriage license just like a couple that has an ordained officiant.  The marriage license does not say "self uniting" or anything different on it, the license is the same.    I hightly doubt PA will stop doing self uniting marriages, but if they do, your marriage would still be considered vaild.  Again, you have a legitimate marriage license which can not be revoked.

    Let me know if you have any other self-unifying questions.  I think this is an awesome way to do a wedding, especially for people that are non-religious.  I find it hard to believe more people in PA don't do this.
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  • Thank you so much for answering my questions!
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  • We are having a friend from California officiate at our wedding. He was ordained online I believe and has already done some weddings in California, but I'm not sure if that would translate to PA or not. I tried doing research but couldn't find any specific answers. Maybe we can get a self uniting license just in case.
  • I'm planning to go the self-uniting route too - thanks for covering everything I was wondering! 
  • We just did a self-uniting ceremony that was absolutely beautiful. I'm a lawyer, so I looked into the legality of it before we decided to do it.

    The first thing is that it's actually really easy to get a self-uniting license in PA. You just have to remember to ask for it when you go in to apply for your license. The license you receive does say something different on it. Ours says "United ourselves in marriage." BUT, according to the register of wills, you cannot have someone else officiate. Not your cousin, not your pastor, not anyone. You have to marry yourselves, but you need to have at least two witnesses. 

    Other states will recognize the license because you are legally married under the laws of Pennsylvania. The Full Faith and Credit Clause requires other states to recognize the marriage. (Don't even get me started on DOMA; that's an issue for another day.)

    One thing to keep in mind is that most people won't understand that what you're doing is actually legally binding. Our wedding program included this:

     

    Self-Uniting Marriage Ceremony

    The self-uniting marriage--one conducted with no officiant--has been legal in Pennsylvania since 1681, when it was made available for Quakers, whose faith provided no wedding officiants. In 2007, the Pennsylvania courts recognized the rights of all heterosexual couples to marry in self-uniting ceremonies regardless of their faith. Such a ceremony is legal if the couple obtains a self-uniting marriage license and performs the ceremony before at least two witnesses. In late August, we obtained our own self-uniting marriage license from the Allegheny County Register of Wills. We are thrilled to solemnize our marriage with you, our friends and family, as witnesses.

     

    We wrote our ceremony ourselves and nearly every person who was there told us what a beautiful ceremony it was. 

     

    Pghmrsw14
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