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S00739 Summary:

Amd §§11, 12, 13 & 13-b, Dom Rel L; add §110, Exec L
Designates lay individuals as one-day marriage officiants in order to solemnize marriages.
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S00739 Text:

                STATE OF NEW YORK
                               2021-2022 Regular Sessions
                    IN SENATE
                                     January 6, 2021
        Introduced  by  Sens. BIAGGI, RITCHIE -- read twice and ordered printed,
          and when printed to be committed to  the  Committee  on  Judiciary  --
          recommitted  to  the  Committee on Judiciary in accordance with Senate
          Rule  6,  sec.  8  --  committee  discharged,  bill  amended,  ordered
          reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee
        AN  ACT  to  amend  the domestic relations law and the executive law, in
          relation to designating lay individuals to solemnize marriages
          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
     1    Section  1. Subdivisions 1, 1-a, 2 and 3-a of section 11 of the domes-
     2  tic relations law, subdivision 1 as amended by chapter 95 of the laws of
     3  2011, subdivision 1-a as amended by chapter 96  of  the  laws  of  2011,
     4  subdivision  2 as amended by section 1 of subpart E of part B of chapter
     5  20 of the laws of 2015, and subdivision 3-a as added by chapter  450  of
     6  the laws of 2014, are amended and a new subdivision 3-b is added to read
     7  as follows:
     8    1.  A  clergyman or minister of any religion, or by the senior leader,
     9  or any of the other leaders, of The Society for Ethical Culture  in  the
    10  city  of New York, having its principal office in the borough of Manhat-
    11  tan, or by the leader of  The  Brooklyn  Society  for  Ethical  Culture,
    12  having  its  principal  office in the borough of Brooklyn of the city of
    13  New York, or of the Westchester Ethical Society,  having  its  principal
    14  office  in Westchester county, or of the Ethical Culture Society of Long
    15  Island, having its principal office in Nassau county, or of  the  River-
    16  dale-Yonkers  Ethical Society having its principal office in Bronx coun-
    17  ty, or by the leader of any other  Ethical  Culture  Society  affiliated
    18  with  the American Ethical Union; provided that no clergyman or minister
    19  as defined in section two of the religious corporations law, or  Society
    20  for  Ethical  Culture leader shall be required to solemnize any marriage
    21  when acting in his or her capacity under this  subdivision.    [1-a.]  A
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

        S. 739--A                           2
     1  refusal  by  a  clergyman  or  minister as defined in section two of the
     2  religious corporations law, or Society for  Ethical  Culture  leader  to
     3  solemnize  any  marriage under this subdivision shall not create a civil
     4  claim  or  cause  of  action  or result in any state or local government
     5  action to penalize, withhold benefits or discriminate against such cler-
     6  gyman or minister[.]; or,
     7    2. The current or a former governor, a mayor of a  village,  a  county
     8  executive  of  a  county,  or a mayor, recorder, city magistrate, police
     9  justice or police magistrate of a city, a former mayor or the city clerk
    10  of a city of the first class of over one million inhabitants or  any  of
    11  his  or her deputies or not more than four regular clerks, designated by
    12  him or her for such purpose as provided  in  section  eleven-a  of  this
    13  article, except that in cities which contain more than one hundred thou-
    14  sand  and  less than one million inhabitants, a marriage shall be solem-
    15  nized by the mayor, or police justice, and by no other officer  of  such
    16  city,  except  as  provided  in  subdivisions  one  and  three  of  this
    17  section[.]; or,
    18    3-a. A judge or peacemaker judge of any Indian tribal court, a  chief,
    19  a  headman,  or any member of any tribal council or other governing body
    20  of any nation, tribe or band of Indians in this state duly designated by
    21  such body for the purpose of officiating  at  marriages,  or  any  other
    22  persons  duly  designated  by such body, in keeping with the culture and
    23  traditions of any such nation, tribe or band of Indians in  this  state,
    24  to officiate at marriages[.]; or,
    25    3-b.  A  one-day marriage officiant, as designated by the secretary of
    26  state pursuant to section one hundred ten of the executive law; or,
    27    § 2. Section 12 of the domestic relations law is amended  to  read  as
    28  follows:
    29    §  12.    Marriage, how solemnized.  No particular form or ceremony is
    30  required when a marriage is solemnized as herein provided by a clergyman
    31  [or], magistrate, or one-day marriage officiant  as  designated  by  the
    32  secretary  of state pursuant to section one hundred ten of the executive
    33  law but the parties must solemnly declare in the presence of a clergyman
    34  [or], magistrate,  or  one-day  marriage  officiant  and  the  attending
    35  witness  or  witnesses  that  they take each other as [husband and wife]
    36  spouses. In every case, at least one witness beside the clergyman  [or],
    37  magistrate, or one-day marriage officiant must be present at the ceremo-
    38  ny.
    39    The preceding provisions of this chapter, so far as they relate to the
    40  manner  of  solemnizing  marriages, shall not affect marriages among the
    41  people called friends or quakers; nor marriages among the people of  any
    42  other  denominations  having  as such any particular mode of solemnizing
    43  marriages; but such marriages must be solemnized in the  manner  hereto-
    44  fore  used and practiced in their respective societies or denominations,
    45  and marriages so solemnized shall be as valid as if this article had not
    46  been enacted.
    47    § 3. Section 13 of the domestic relations law, as amended  by  chapter
    48  95 of the laws of 2011, is amended to read as follows:
    49    §  13.  Marriage  licenses.  It  shall  be  necessary  for all persons
    50  intended to be married in New York state to obtain  a  marriage  license
    51  from a town or city clerk in New York state and to deliver said license,
    52  within  sixty  days,  to  the  clergyman  [or],  magistrate,  or one-day
    53  marriage officiant as designated by the secretary of state  pursuant  to
    54  section  one hundred ten of the executive law who is to officiate before
    55  the marriage ceremony may be performed. In case of a marriage contracted
    56  pursuant to subdivision four of section eleven  of  this  chapter,  such

        S. 739--A                           3
     1  license  shall  be  delivered to the judge of the court of record before
     2  whom the acknowledgment is to be taken. If either party to the  marriage
     3  resides  upon an island located not less than twenty-five miles from the
     4  office  or  residence of the town clerk of the town of which such island
     5  is a part, and if such office or residence is not on  such  island  such
     6  license  may  be obtained from any justice of the peace residing on such
     7  island, and such justice, in respect to powers and  duties  relating  to
     8  marriage  licenses,  shall  be subject to the provisions of this article
     9  governing town clerks  and  shall  file  all  statements  or  affidavits
    10  received  by  him while acting under the provisions of this section with
    11  the town clerk of such town. No application for a marriage license shall
    12  be denied on the ground that the parties are of the same, or  a  differ-
    13  ent, sex.
    14    § 4. Section 13-b of the domestic relations law, as amended by chapter
    15  306 of the laws of 2021, is amended to read as follows:
    16    § 13-b. Time within which marriage may be solemnized. A marriage shall
    17  not  be  solemnized  within  twenty-four hours after the issuance of the
    18  marriage license, unless authorized by an order of a court of record  as
    19  hereinafter  provided,  nor shall it be solemnized after sixty days from
    20  the date of the issuance  of  the  marriage  license  unless  authorized
    21  pursuant  to  section  three  hundred fifty-four-d of the executive law.
    22  Every license to marry hereafter issued by a  town  or  city  clerk,  in
    23  addition to other requirements specified by this chapter, must contain a
    24  statement  of  the day and the hour the license is issued and the period
    25  during which the marriage may be solemnized. It shall be the duty of the
    26  clergyman [or], magistrate, or one-day marriage officiant, as designated
    27  by  the  secretary  of state pursuant to section one hundred ten of  the
    28  executive  law,  performing the marriage ceremony, or if the marriage is
    29  solemnized by written contract, of the judge before whom the contract is
    30  acknowledged, to annex to or endorse upon the marriage license the  date
    31  and  hour  the marriage is solemnized. A judge or justice of the supreme
    32  court of this state or the county judge of the county  in  which  either
    33  party  to  be  married resides, or the judge of the family court of such
    34  county, if it shall appear from an examination of the  license  and  any
    35  other  proofs  submitted  by  the  parties that one of the parties is in
    36  danger of imminent death, or by reason of other emergency public  inter-
    37  est  will  be promoted thereby, or that such delay will work irreparable
    38  injury or great hardship upon the contracting parties, or one  of  them,
    39  may,  make  an  order  authorizing  the  immediate  solemnization of the
    40  marriage and upon filing such order with the clergyman [or], magistrate,
    41  or one-day marriage officiant performing the marriage  ceremony,  or  if
    42  the  marriage  is  to  be solemnized by written contract, with the judge
    43  before whom the contract is acknowledged, such  clergyman  [or],  magis-
    44  trate or one-day marriage officiant may solemnize such marriage, or such
    45  judge  may  take such acknowledgment as the case may be, without waiting
    46  for such three day period and twenty-four hour  period  to  elapse.  The
    47  clergyman,  magistrate  [or],  judge,  or one-day marriage officiant, as
    48  designated by the secretary of state pursuant to section one hundred ten
    49  of  the  executive law, must file such order with the town or city clerk
    50  who issued the license within five days after  the  marriage  is  solem-
    51  nized.  Such  town  or city clerk must record and index the order in the
    52  book required to be kept by him or her for recording affidavits,  state-
    53  ments,  consents  and  licenses,  and  when  so recorded the order shall
    54  become a public record and  available  in  any  prosecution  under  this
    55  section.  A  person  who shall solemnize a marriage in violation of this
    56  section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor  and  upon  conviction  thereof

        S. 739--A                           4
     1  shall  be  punished  by a fine of fifty dollars for each offense, and in
     2  addition thereto, his or her right to  solemnize  a  marriage  shall  be
     3  suspended for ninety days.
     4    §  5. The executive law is amended by adding a new section 110 to read
     5  as follows:
     6    § 110. Designation of one-day marriage officiant.   The secretary,  or
     7  his or her designee, shall issue one-day marriage officiant designations
     8  to laypersons over the age of eighteen regardless of state residence who
     9  intend  to  perform  a marriage solemnization ceremony within the state.
    10  Such designations shall only be  issued  after  an  applicant  remits  a
    11  completed  application form and fee, both to be determined by the secre-
    12  tary. The application form shall require the following  information  and
    13  be  accompanied  by  legal  proof  of identification. From the applicant
    14  requesting designation: applicant name, date of  birth,  legal  address,
    15  email  address  and  telephone number.   The application form shall also
    16  require the names, addresses and  birth  dates  of  the  parties  to  be
    17  married  as they appear on the application for a marriage license issued
    18  by a town or city clerk in the state, the name  of  the  city,  town  or
    19  village in which such solemnization will be performed and the exact date
    20  of  the  solemnization.  The application and fee must be received by the
    21  department at least thirty days before the date  of  the  ceremony.  The
    22  department shall notify the applicant of approval of such designation no
    23  later  than seven days prior to the date of the marriage ceremony stated
    24  on the application. Such designations shall only be valid for the  cere-
    25  mony  stated on the application and shall expire upon completion of such
    26  solemnization.
    27    § 6. This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day  after  it  shall
    28  have  become  a  law.    Effective  immediately, the addition, amendment
    29  and/or repeal of any rule or regulation necessary for the implementation
    30  of this act on  its  effective  date  are  authorized  to  be  made  and
    31  completed on or before such effective date.
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