Re: AltInst: Fwd: Legal Group Marriages?

From: Lee Daniel Crocker <>
Date: Fri Apr 03 1998 - 13:21:38 PST

> Now, as far as I know, legal marriages may be performed by Justices of the
> Peace, ship Captains (at sea), or ordained Clergy of established churches.
> Are there others I am unaware of?

I am only familiar with California law, but I suspect most other states
are similar in this regard: a California marriage must be both licensed
and "solemnized"; the former is done by the state, and licenses will be
issued only in accordance the Family Code (i.e., the state will not
issue a license to a group or gay couple). Solemnization may be performed
by a judge, justice of the peace, clergyman, or by the couple themselves
if they are a member of a church that dictates self-solemnization. Ship
captains do /not/ have this privilege and never did; that's just an urban
legend that makes for better movie endings.

> So. We are an established Church, with recognized ordained Clergy, and have
> long been conducting legal marriages. We have created and performed beautiful
> handfasting ceremonies for gay couples as well as triads. We even conduct
> parting rituals. Couldn't we set up a structure, similar to that we already
> have in place for Nests and Subsidiaries, that would legitimate a group
> marriage performed and sanctioned by our Clergy, as a legal entity under our
> Group Exemption? If that is how it is legally structured, such an entity could
> then purchase property, open joint checking and savings accounts, have a group
> health plan, rent "offices" (housing), obtain insurance, pay corporate
> (family) taxes, etc. in exactly the same way a nuclear family does, couldn't
> it?

You probably could set up contracts to accomplish most of these things.
The legal problems would come from those few areas where the state grants
special privilege to "marriages", because the state would still not
recognize your partnership as such. You could get most of the same
benefits, though: part of the contract could be powers of attorney for
joint property and health care, for example. It might help with things
like medical insurance if one or more pairs in the group actually got
state-licensed marriages as well.

In California, things like housework qualify as "compensation" for the
purpose of validating a personal contract, so it's enforcible. The only
thing you can't specifically contract for is sex, or you run afoul of
prostitution laws.

All of this should be done with explicit, written, signed, and notarized
contracts. The "conventions" of the Church have no legal standing at all.

Lee Daniel Crocker <> <>
"All inventions or works of authorship original to me, herein and past,
are placed irrevocably in the public domain, and may be used or modified
for any purpose, without permission, attribution, or notification."--LDC
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Received on Fri Apr 3 13:43:50 1998

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