The Kay County Court no longer signs / officiates Marriage Certificates. Apparently our entire state has been phasing out our justice of the Peace, making it nigh impossible to get married in any Courthouse in our State.
In Oklahoma, it is $50 for the Marriage License- or $5 if you do premarital Counselling. You receive your license that day and there is no wait period unless you’re under 18 (then it’s a 3 day wait). After you receive it, you then have 10 days from that day in order to get legally married.
Usually, once your Marriage Certificate was approved, you would be able to walk over to the Judge’s office on a certain day, have him Officiate a small secular ceremony, then sign the Marriage Certificate, and you would be legally married once you walked back over to the Court Clerk’s office and filed it; at least that’s how it was when I almost got married in 2009 (thank the Gods that never happened, though). Apparently, however, Kay County stopped doing that “years ago” according to the woman at the Court Clerk I spoke to this morning who very decidedly refused to give me an exact year.
This means that- by Oklahoma State Law- the only other way I can get married in our county is to find a Clergyman and have them do a ceremony. Now I am technically ordained, so my first response is to see whether or not it is legal to officiate my own marriage and sign my own marriage certificate. Looking at the current laws on the books is frustrating, though.
“Ordained ministers of the gospel of any denomination who are at least 18 years of age may perform marriages. Ministers must file a copy of their credentials with the county clerk before performing marriages. Ministers must complete a certificate of marriage and return it to the clerk or judge who issued the marriage license.”
And yet I am still not finding anything that says I cannot sign my own Marriage Certificate as Officiate. However, that still does not help me because I technically do not have a copy of my credentials. Apparently I can get a temporary license though, but it is not cheap. Ultimately it continues to look as if it would actually be cheaper to just use the Christian Denominational Officiant the courthouse itself referred me to earlier today.
The forced religious element is leaving me particularly distressed at the moment. To be completely honest, at this point the process essentially and ultimately feels as if they are pushing Christian ceremonies and marriage methods- especially when you take into account the fact that they are limiting and outright taking away certain methods of getting married. I am finding it excruciatingly distasteful (them pushing us to do so, not Christianity and its practices).
All marriages must be contracted by a formal ceremony performed in the presence of at least 2 witnesses, and an ordained or authorized preacher, priest, minister of the Gospel, or other ecclesiastical dignitary of any denomination who has been ordained by a religious organization that has the legal authority to ordain.”
So far I have only discovered that we have to have a formal ceremony regardless of what we want to do. By the requirements, it almost completely has to be done by a religious authority whose ordination is legal in our state.
I am almost positive at this point that (“non-denominational” language be damned) by forcing the ceremony they’re trying to force “Good Christian Marriages / Wedding Ceremonies”- which is the infuriating part because a Marriage (Certificate) =/= a (Wedding) Ceremony. They are ultimately two completely different things which are not mutually exclusive to one another; there is no reason or point to 1. Require a formal ceremony by a JP / Judge or Clergyman in the first place; then 2. Take away the ability to use a JP / Judge in order to legally sign it; and there is absolutely no reason that the only Clergyman you refer people to is a Christian Denominational Minister who is “uncomfortable with performing non-Christian and non-denominational ceremonies”… Not unless that is exactly what you’re trying to do, anyways.
I figure that if we are ultimately going to be forced by the state of Oklahoma to have a formal ceremony officiated by a religious authority, then I will at least see who is available in our area that was closer to our own religions. Unfortunately I have gotten nowhere fast; the adds I have managed to find have been utterly mind numbing and terrifying; the exact community of people whom I try to avoid at all costs.
At this point I have no idea what we will do. What I do know, however, is that my Husband and I have been excited about the house we are getting from my parents as our wedding gift. So excited, in fact, that we’ve decided to move up the date for the wedding even if it’s causing us some grief.
My parents offered us the house after months of difficulty finding a place of our own. It wasn’t a benevolent offer, though; they bought the house with my Father’s work injury settlement, for $5,000 USD, from a friend who needed the money for medical treatment. Initially they wanted to move into it themselves, but they don’t want to do the work. My Parents initially thought about offering it to my Sister first, but with 3 kids and a Boyfriend a 1 bedroom house is far too small for them. And so my soon-to-be-husband and I are the last pick to offload it short of reselling it- and it needs too much work for that to really be a viable option.
The agreement, however, was that we could renovate and move in whenever we wished, but until we were married we would pay them $200 USD in rent. Once married, they would transfer the house into our name. Since we are both getting very sick of living in his parents’ basement, the decision was simple, really: have a small ceremony now as soon as we can and just become home owners before renovations were complete. This will allow us to do everything ourselves without the need for coordinating schedules in order to get permits, or go through others to have the utilities turned on, etc- thus making the renovation process far easier. It will also mean that as a married couple we are more likely to receive loans to aid us in renovating our first house.
Since we are going ahead and signing the Marriage Contract next month first chance we get, that also means we’ll live without rent and will own the house as soon as my Father gets his settlement and pays the rest off. That was the deal, anyways, since they purchased the house for us as a Wedding Gift.
We are still hoping to be in by early to mid Spring, and are keeping our fingers crossed!