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For better or worse, when you get married in the United States, the legal system is largely built for those who practice a certain type of Christian faith. This usually means that a member of the clergy will join the couple in the eyes of the law.

But so was American involvement in organized religion Heading down Since the seventies. Millennials have broken away from religious traditions in droves, and Generation Z is being raised by a significantly less religious generation than their parents.

It can be strange to pay a debt manager you don’t follow to oversee one of your life’s most important obligations. In many states, the only other option is a magistrate or justice of the peace, which again forces the couple to invite a stranger to this intimate life event.

In a few states, you can get around the outside official’s predicament through a process called self-consolidation or self-marriage. This solution not only saves you the embarrassment. It is also possible Saves you cold and hard money By canceling the wedding day fee.

What is united marriage?

Ironically, the method of marriage without a bailiff was paved with religious traditions. Monotheism is a Quaker tradition stemming from the belief that everyone has the same access to God. Since there is no need for clergy mediation, you will not find an official at a Quaker wedding. Instead of a cleric marrying the couple, the couple themselves run the ceremony.

Religious freedom is an important part of the American ethos. This made it particularly important in states with historically large populations of Quakers—such as Pennsylvania—to accept Quaker celebrations within the law.

Baha’is also practice autistic marriages, and they are often explicitly mentioned in state laws regarding self-reverence marriages.

I am not a Quaker. Can I unite?

You may be wondering how all this can be of use to you. You are probably not a Quaker yourself. You may or may not believe in God at all. Can you even legally have a united marriage if you’re not a Quaker?

The answer is yes.” At least in some countries.

It wasn’t always clear. In 2007, a married couple who did not practice either the Bahá’í or Quaker religions applied for a monotheistic marriage in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. They were asked about their religion, and they said the truth. Because of their answer, they were denied a marriage license.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) intervened, arguing with the couple First Amendment Rights have been violated. They were asked about their religion, and because of their answer were denied government service, which was considered religious discrimination.

A US district judge ruled that the ACLU was right. Since then, the organization has enabled couples in other counties across Pennsylvania to marry through self-sanctification. Although you may come across a county employee who doesn’t want to comply at first, legally you don’t have to be a Quaker or Baha’i to be issued a self-identifying marriage license in Pennsylvania.

This same logic has been adopted by most states that allow united marriage.

What countries allow united marriage?

There are only a few states that have self-seriousness written into their laws. Each state manages the practice a little differently.

Maine and Nevada allow self-unifying marriages, but only for certain religious groups. In Maine, you must be a member of two Quaker or Baha’i religions. In Nevada, the only provisions for the traditional driving route are for Quakers and American Indians.

However, in all other states that allow self-marriages, there is more leeway.


The term “non-clerical marriage” is often used to refer to self-consolidation marriages in California. In 2016, with some stimulus from the advocacy group United States of America, San Francisco County allowed the first official non-clerical atheist marriage in California.

Not all county clerks will be familiar with the process for obtaining a non-clerical marriage license outside the context of a Quaker faith. But there is precedent to set when making your case, and you should be able to hold a non-clergy wedding ceremony regardless of your faith.


In Colorado, anyone can look for an official marriage license. Colorado is also one of the only places where spouses are not required to have witnesses. It could literally just be you and your partner.

District of Columbia

Washington, DC’s laws about autistic marriage are similar to those of Colorado. Anyone can seat themselves without an official, and no witnesses are required.


Illinois law allows for self-confessed marriage, and does not specify which religion you must follow to participate in this practice.


In Kansas, you can have a united marriage as long as this type of wedding ceremony complies with your faith and religious traditions. However, Kansas law does not specify which religion you must belong to, which makes it possible to have a united marriage even if you are not a Quaker or a Baha’i.


In Pennsylvania, you don’t need a bailiff to get married regardless of your religion. If the county clerk stops, which is more common in rural counties, you can either Indicate a precedent Or try another writer in a nearby county.


Wisconsin permits monotheistic marriage and does not limit the practice to Quaker or Baha’i faith. Technically a monotheistic marriage should be part of your religious practices or the religious practices of your soon-to-be spouse, but you shouldn’t be denied a license to marry just because you’re not a Quaker or a Baha’i. In fact, the clerk’s office should not require you to prove your belief according to state guidelines.

What is the application process?

The process for applying for a marriage license must be the same or similar to the process required by anyone seeking a “traditional” marriage license. Before the pandemic, this meant making an appointment in person with the county clerk’s office and answering a few questions.

During the pandemic, many counties across the country are allowing this meeting to take place online via Zoom or another teleconferencing platform. Generally, you will need to show your ID on the camera to prove your identity, and from there you can ask and answer any questions.

“We know these are life events and we wanted to make sure our office wasn’t up to par,” says Paul Lopez, an employee and registrar for the city and county of Denver. Denver County began offering online marriage license application dates early in the COVID-19 crisis.

“We gave it priority, and at the end of the day, love prevailed. Even during the pandemic.”

The availability of online marriage application dates varies from county to county, even within the same state. In most counties that still allow you to attend in person or require you to apply for a marriage license, you will need to make an appointment rather than show up without notice.

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Is restraint more expensive?

No, dedicating oneself is almost always less expensive than having a traditional wedding ceremony with formal attendance. This is because you will not have to pay any fees or feel obligated to “gift” the money to a third party.

However, some counties will charge a slightly higher fee when applying for a United Marriage License. For example, in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, you will not pay any additional fees to obtain your marriage license just because you will marry by self-sanctification. But on the other side of the state in Philadelphia County, you’ll incur an additional $10 fee.

These fees are symbolic. When you calculate the money you save from official fees, you’re still on top.

Could a self-united wedding be so far away?

sometimes! It depends on where you live. It’s a good idea to check in advance and you may find that there have been changes in policies, or at least talk of changes, due to the pandemic, which has paved the way for many official remote activities.

Remote self-worth countries

Denver is a great place to have a wedding away, from getting your marriage license to making your vows. Colorado does not require any witnesses at your wedding, allowing you to enlarge guests without requiring their signature or physical presence.

Likewise, District of Columbia law requires no witnesses, allowing you to have a completely remote wedding.

California is unique in that it still requires two witnesses to be present at your wedding as per state law. But it does explicitly allow your witnesses to attend the wedding via web teleconference.

Countries where you may have to commit to yourself

In Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, the rules are a bit more blurry. Before the pandemic, two witnesses were required to attend the ceremony in person. During the pandemic, neither country has been willing to comply with this physical presence requirement and has advised couples to seek legal advice if they have any concerns.

You will also need to be sure to seek specific legal advice if you are getting married in Kansas or Illinois.

Odds are, the validity of your marriage ceremony will not be challenged unless you decide to divorce later. At this point, though, if it is determined that your marriage is not legally binding, a divorce will not be necessary. Courts may decide that you never married in the first place, which can have significant financial and legal ramifications.

Brian Conroy is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.

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