Rabbi? Priest? Imam? Justice of the peace? These are the usual suspects with authority under state marriage laws to preside over wedding ceremonies. Should a minister ordained online with the click of a button be added to the list? Whether ministers ordained by the Universal Life Church (“ULC”), an online ministry with more than 20 million ministers, can lawfully preside over weddings is a recurring question in lawsuits.
In a recent opinion, in Oswald v. Oswald, an appellate court in New York suggested that a ULC marriage was valid. This might not seem surprising, but it departs from three other cases in New York that have held the opposite, one of which was a fellow appellate court. In this column, I’ll explain the new ruling and the split of opinion that New York law now reflects.
Joanna L. Grossman,
A Difference of Opinion: Are Universal Life Church Weddings Valid in New York? Verdict
Available at: https://scholarlycommons.law.hofstra.edu/faculty_scholarship/973