Begin Your Free Ordination

State Wedding Laws

This section of the ULC.org outlines the wedding laws for states in the United States where many of our ministers come from, where weddings are frequently performed by our ministers, or both.

Please note that wedding laws are constantly changing and are occasionally interpreted differently from county to county within a single state, even though multiple interpretations of the same law should never occur. The Universal Life Church Ministries strongly encourages its ministers to contact the county clerks of the counties they plan on performing weddings in before the ceremonies occur to ensure that the county accepts our ordination and to determine what forms of documentation and credentials they need to file for a marriage ceremony.

County clerks will occasionally refuse to give our ministers the ability to file marriage licenses from time to time, even if they have no legally valid reason to do so. Please contact the ULC Ministries immediately if you experience difficulties with a county clerk.

The information about marriage laws contained on this page may be out of date or incorrect. Do not count on it being accurate; always verify wedding laws with the county clerks of the counties you are going to file marriage licenses in.

If you discover these laws are not up to date, please contact us at webmaster@ulc.org to inform us of the changes we were not aware of.


State laws of the states with the most ULC ministers

Please click on the links below to view the marriage laws of the five states with the most Universal Life Church ministers. If you would like to see a more complete list of wedding laws, please visit our marriage law database.

California Wedding Laws- 89,000

Texas Wedding Laws – 39,000

Washington Wedding Laws – 32,000

Florida Wedding Laws – 29,000

Illinois Wedding Laws – 26,000

Ohio Wedding Laws – 23,000


States where the ULC ordination is not recognized

While the vast majority of U.S. states recognize the ULC Ministries’s ordination as legally valid, a few generally do not. Ministers looking to perform wedding ceremonies in the following states should be advised that doing so may or may not be possible due to restrictive marriage laws or the rulings of court cases.

Pennsylvania - every county in PA except for Bucks County generally rejects our ordination.

Tennessee - Our ministers are occasionally denied when they try to file for marriage licenses here. A 1997 Tennessee Attorney General ruling stated that ministers ordained through the Universal Life Church of Modesto, CA did not have the right to perform legally-recognized wedding ceremonies. This ruling technically does not apply to the ULC Ministries, which was founded in 2006, but some county clerks wrongfully apply it to our ministers anyway.

UPDATE: the State of Tennessee now accepts our ordination. 

Virginia - every county in VA but Spotsylvania will generally refuse our ministers the right to file a marriage license.

DISCLAIMER: We will always say that the our ordinations are generally not recognized in these states because many ULC ministers have been able to get their ordinations recognized by county clerks in counties within these states. Like we mention above, county clerks’ interpretations of their state’s marriage laws vary wildly; one county clerk might recognize your Universal Life Church ordination in PA or VA while another one might not.

Also, please note that ordinations issued to ULC ministers residing in either of the above states are still legally valid elsewhere. It doesn’t matter if your home state doesn’t recognize your ordination as being valid because 48 other states do recognize it; these states do not care that your home state does not recognize your Universal Life Church ordination and will allow you to solemnize marriages within their borders. People who tell you otherwise will have a hard time explaining why the many weddings our PA and VA ministers have performed in other states were recognized by county clerks when these ULC ministers filed for marriage licenses!