top of page

More legal info about online ordinations: 

There is a lot of misinformation being spread concerning certain court cases and even some people fraudulently ordaining their pets or putting in fake names and falsifying information. The most common suits concerning New York are Ranieri vs Ranieri, 1989 and Oswald vs Oswald, 2013. In the case of Ranieri vs Ranieri the court held the opinion that the marriage through the ULC was invalid while 24 years later in the Oswald case the court would cite “Ranieri was decided a quarter century ago, and we simply cannot presume that the belief system, structure and inner workings of the ULC have remained static since that time. With the issue having resurfaced, we find it appropriate to address it anew.” And their judgement that the marriage was both valid and “It is not the role of the courts to question the ULC membership requirements or the method by which it selects its ministers” granted additional validity to the certainty of prior and current ordinations being acceptable.The state is in charge with whom can and cannot perform a wedding ceremony. Recently Tennessee passed a bill ruling that online registered officiant’s ceremonies would not be recognized. This bill was immediately challenged by both the Universal Life Church and American Marriage Ministries with Chief U.S. District Judge Waverly D. Crenshaw issuing an order maintaining the legal status quo (of the solemnization by online officiants and allowing them to continue performing legally recognized weddings) and delaying the implementation of the law pending the out-coming of the court arguments. All ceremonies previously performed before the passing of a similar bill here, regardless, would be recognized if it happened in New York. Utah lost in court attempting to invalidate online ordinations (Universal Life Church vs Utah, 2002) with the court siding with the church. However Tennessee and Utah are not New York and the laws of one state do not apply to every state. For example, in Colorado no witnesses are required, you can solemnize your own wedding license, and even marry your first cousin.

Your wedding day should be as stress-free as possible, if you feel uncertain about the validity of an online ordained minister's wedding, you are always welcome to have the official paperwork and civil ceremony at town and have your officiant perform at the wedding itself.

bottom of page