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In this, Part One of this two-part series of columns, I will explain the basic procedural requirements for marriage and the questions raised when weddings are presided over by ministers ordained online, who have no congregation or other trappings of religious power. Then, in Part Two—which will appear on Justia’s Verdict in two weeks, on November 15—I will provide a detailed jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction analysis of cases in which the validity of online-minister marriages have been challenged. In that part, I will focus with special detail on New York, where, while online minister weddings are clearly common, there is case law suggesting that the resulting marriages are not valid.



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