April 26, 2019

Rep. Kazarian introduces bill to change solemnization of marriage process

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State House – Rep. Katherine S. Kazarian (D-Dist. 63, East Providence) has introduced legislation (2019-H 5238) that would authorize the governor to designate a justice of the peace in each city or town to solemnize marriages. Currently, legislation must be passed by the full General Assembly in order for an ordinary citizen to preside over a marriage ceremony.

“This bill is necessary because currently, an engaged couple looking to have a friend or relative marry them must go through the General Assembly, which is only in session six months a year. Last year, I was contacted by a constituent in July about their nuptials scheduled for September. Unfortunately, the General Assembly had already concluded its session for the year and there was no other alternative possible, so sadly, my constituent was unable to have the person that they wanted to marry them conduct the ceremony,” said Representative Kazarian.

The bill would also allow the governor to designate any other person to solemnize a particular marriage on a particular date. There would be a fee to obtain a certificate of designation, whether the application is submitted by mail, hand, or electronically.

“It broke my heart when I had to tell my constituent there was nothing I could do to ensure their perfect wedding with the officiant of their choice. That is why this legislation is needed to modernize our system in Rhode Island,” concluded Representative Kazarian.

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