Oregon Wedding Laws
When you’re busy planning the perfect wedding, spending hours weeding through Oregon’s unique array of state-specific regulations, deadlines, and fees is the last thing you want to do. We’ve reviewed all the pertinent legal provisions and put together a convenient, comprehensive guide for couples and ministers to help ensure your marriage is legitimate according to Oregon law.
Getting Married in Oregon
Oregon allows ministers and couples to customize the wedding ceremony as they see fit. The only requirements for an Oregon wedding ceremony are:
- During the ceremony, each partner must state that he or she consents to the marriage and takes the other as his or her spouse.
- The minister must pronounce that both partners have consented.
- The minister, both partners, and two competent adult witnesses must be physically present for the entire ceremony.
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Or. Rev. Stat. § 106.150 Form of solemnization
(1)In the solemnization of a marriage no particular form is required except that the parties thereto shall assent or declare in the presence of the person, religious organization or congregation, or secular organization, authorized to solemnize marriages under ORS 106.120 (Who may solemnize marriage), and in the presence of at least two witnesses, that they take each other to be spouses in a marriage.
(2)All marriages, to which there are no legal impediments, solemnized before or in any religious organization or congregation, or secular organization, authorized to solemnize marriages, according to the established ritual or form commonly practiced therein, are valid. In such case, the person presiding, officiating or celebrating in the religious organization or congregation, or secular organization, shall deliver to the county clerk who issued the marriage license the application, license and record of marriage in accordance with ORS 106.170 (Report of marriage to county clerk). [Amended by 1979 c.724 §5; 2001 c.501 §2; 2007 c.703 §3; 2015 c.629 §9; 2017 c.61 §4]
Oregon Marriage Requirements
Oregon, like all U.S. states, recognizes same-sex couples’ rights to marriage equality. The state does not have a residency requirement and does not require a blood test from persons seeking to be married.
Each partner must be at least 18 years of age to be married in Oregon. A person who is at least 17 years of age must file a sworn, written statement of consent from a parent or legal guardian. To give valid consent, the parent or legal guardian must be at least 18 years of age themselves. If the veracity of a person’s age, identity, or consent is questionable, the clerk may request additional documentation.
No person may marry his or her parent, sibling, aunt, uncle, grandparent, niece, nephew, or first cousin. There is an exception for first cousins who are related through adoption only, with no biological relationship.
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Or. Rev. Stat. § 106.010 Marriage as civil contract
Marriage is a civil contract entered into in person by males at least 17 years of age and females at least 17 years of age, who are otherwise capable, and solemnized in accordance with ORS 106.150 (Form of solemnization). [Amended by 1965 c.422 §1; 1975 c.583 §1]
Or. Rev. Stat. § 106.020 Prohibited and void marriages
The following marriages are prohibited; and, if solemnized within this state, are absolutely void:
(1)When either party thereto had a spouse living at the time of the marriage.
(2)When the parties thereto are first cousins or any nearer of kin to each other, whether of the whole or half blood, whether by blood or adoption, computing by the rules of the civil law, except that when the parties are first cousins by adoption only, the marriage is not prohibited or void. [Amended by 1989 c.647 §1; 2015 c.629 §7]
Or. Rev. Stat. § 106.050 Proof of Age
(1)The county clerk may accept any reasonable proof of the applicant’s age satisfactory to the clerk. The clerk may require proof of age by affidavit of some person other than either of the parties seeking the license if the clerk deems it necessary in order to determine the age of an applicant to the clerk’s satisfaction.
(2)If an applicant for a marriage license is less than 18 years of age, the applicant must file with the county clerk an affidavit of some person other than either of the parties seeking the license showing the facts other than age necessary to be shown under ORS 106.060 (Consent of parent or guardian if applicant under 18) in the particular case, except the consent of the parent or guardian required by ORS 106.060 (Consent of parent or guardian if applicant under 18) shall not be part of the affidavit. The affidavit is sufficient authority to the clerk, so far as the facts stated therein, for issuing the license. [Amended by 1965 c.467 §1; 1969 c.242 §1; 1987 c.340 §1]
How to Become a Wedding Officiant in Oregon
Oregon does not require ministers to register with the state prior to performing wedding ceremonies. The state places no restrictions on a minister’s religious beliefs, race, gender, or orientation; the only requirements for a minister is that he or she must be at least 18 years of age and ordained by an accredited religious organization.
Universal Life Church Ministries is considered a religious actor under Oregon law, and consequently, ULC-ordained ministers are authorized to perform Oregon weddings and other ceremonies. ULC recommends that all ministers keep copies of their ordination credentials on hand while performing weddings, just in case anyone needs to see them.
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Or. Rev. Stat. § 106.120 Who may solemnize marriage
(1)As used in this section:
(a)“Judicial officer” means:
(A)A judicial officer of this state as that term is defined in ORS 1.210 (Judicial officer defined) and includes but is not limited to a judge of a municipal court and a justice of the peace.
(B)An active judge of a federal court.
(C)An active United States magistrate judge.
(b)“Secular organization” means an organization that occupies a place in the lives of the organization’s members parallel to that filled by a church or particular religious authority.
(2)Marriages may be solemnized by:
(a)A judicial officer;
(b)A county clerk;
(c)Religious congregations or organizations as indicated in ORS 106.150 (Form of solemnization) (2);
(d)A clergyperson of any religious congregation or organization who is authorized by the religious congregation or organization to solemnize marriages;
(e)Secular organizations as indicated in ORS 106.150 (Form of solemnization) (2); or
(f)A celebrant or officiant of any secular organization described in paragraph (e) of this subsection who is authorized by the secular organization to solemnize marriages.
(3)A person authorized to solemnize marriages under subsection (2) of this section may solemnize a marriage anywhere in this state.
Applying For a Marriage License in Oregon
Oregon law has a mandatory three-day waiting period for couples who have applied for marriage licenses. However, the waiting period may be waived by a circuit- or county-court judge if the couple submits sufficient evidence of exigent circumstances. The couple’s marriage license is considered effectively issued at the end of the third calendar day after the couple submitted their application.
The marriage license “expires” 60 days after the effective issue date, which means that the couple must solemnize the marriage with a wedding ceremony within that time. The ceremony may take place in any Oregon county. After the ceremony, however, the minister or officiant who performed the ceremony must return the completed license to the clerk’s office in the county where it was issued, rather than in the county where the ceremony was held.
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Or. Rev. Stat. § 106.077 Issuance of marriage license
(1)When the county clerk has received the written application for the marriage license from both applicants, and all other legal requirements for issuance of the marriage license have been met, the county clerk shall issue a marriage license which shall become effective three days after the date on which the application was signed by the applicants. The county clerk shall indicate on the license the date on which the license becomes effective. A license shall be valid for 60 days after the effective date.
(2)For good and sufficient cause shown, a written order waiving the three-day waiting period provided in subsection (1) of this section may be signed by:
(a)A judge of probate of the county;
(b)A circuit court judge of the county in which the circuit court judge is not the judge of probate if the jurisdiction of the circuit court has been extended to cover this section pursuant to ORS 3.275 (Procedure for transfer of jurisdiction over certain family-related matters);
(c)A judge of a county court of the county in which the judge of the county court is not the judge of probate if the circuit court judge does not reside therein; or
(d)The county clerk or official responsible for issuing the marriage license. [1953 c.143 §4(8); 1957 c.592 §1; 1963 c.429 §1; 1967 c.534 §13; 1971 c.456 §1; 1979 c.724 §2; 1981 c.152 §2; 1983 c.156 §1; 1989 c.508 §1]
Or. Rev. Stat. § 106.170 Report of marriage to county clerk
A person solemnizing a marriage shall, within five calendar days of the marriage ceremony, complete the original application, license and record of marriage form and deliver the form to the county clerk who issued the marriage license. The person solemnizing the marriage may keep a copy of the application, license and record of marriage form. [Amended by 1981 c.176 §2; 2001 c.501 §3; 2007 c.703 §7; 2015 c.168 §4]
How to Get a Oregon Marriage License
Oregon is committed to reducing domestic violence in the state and beyond. Each person who applies for a marriage license must state, under oath, that he or she is aware that no person is ever considered to be the property of his or her spouse and that no person is ever required to remain in a violent or abusive marriage. In addition, Oregon contributes $25 of every $60 marriage license fee to Oregon’s Domestic Violence Fund.
To apply for a marriage license, a couple must appear together, in person, at the office of the County Clerk in any Oregon county. Unlike most states, Oregon requires any partner who wishes to change his or her name as a result of the marriage to declare his or her desired post-nuptial name on the license application.
Marriage license applications in Oregon are completed as sworn documents; anyone who makes an intentionally false statement on the application could face perjury charges.
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Or. Rev. Stat. § 106.041 Marriage license
1)All persons wishing to enter into a marriage contract shall obtain a marriage license from the county clerk upon application, directed to any person, religious organization or congregation, or secular organization, authorized by ORS 106.120 (Who may solemnize marriage) to solemnize marriages, and authorizing the person, religious organization or congregation, or secular organization, to join together as spouses in a marriage the persons named in the license.
(2)The State Registrar of the Center for Health Statistics shall provide a standard form of the application, license and record of marriage to be used in this state that must include:
(a)Each applicant’s Social Security number recorded on a confidential portion of the application, license and record of marriage;
(b)Certain statistical data regarding age, place of birth, sex, occupation, residence and previous marital status of each applicant;
(c)The name and address of the affiant under ORS 106.050 (Proof of age), if required; and
(d)Each applicant’s name after marriage as provided in ORS 106.220 (Name upon entering into marriage).
(3)The form of application, license and record provided by the state registrar under subsection (2) of this section may not require an address for any religious organization or congregation authorized by ORS 106.120 (Who may solemnize marriage) to solemnize marriages.
(4)Each applicant for a marriage license shall file with the county clerk from whom the marriage license is sought a written application for the license on forms prescribed for this purpose by the Center for Health Statistics.
(5)A marriage license must contain the following statement: “Neither you nor your spouse is the property of the other. The laws of the State of Oregon affirm your right to enter into marriage and at the same time to live within the marriage free from violence and abuse.”
(6)An applicant may not intentionally make a material false statement in the records required by this section.
(7)The county clerk may not issue a marriage license until the provisions of this section and ORS 106.050 (Proof of age) and 106.060 (Consent of parent or guardian if applicant under 18) are complied with. [1953 c.143 §2; 1981 c.152 §1; 1993 c.324 §1; 1995 c.555 §4; 1999 c.80 §67; 2007 c.703 §1; 2015 c.629 §8; 2017 c.61 §2; 2017 c.466 §1]
Or. Rev. Stat. § 106.045 Fee for marriage license
(1)In addition to any other fees provided by law, the county clerk shall collect a fee of $25 upon the application for a marriage license.
(2)The county clerk shall regularly pay over to the Department of Human Services all moneys collected under subsection (1) of this section to be credited to the Domestic Violence Fund pursuant to ORS 409.300 (Domestic Violence Fund). [1981 c.357 §1; 1983 c.480 §6; 1987 c.740 §1; 2009 c.595 §65a; 2011 c.720 §55]
Or. Rev. Stat. § 206.320 Fees collected by county clerk
(1)In every county there shall be charged and collected in advance by the county clerk, for the benefit of the county, the following fees, and no more, for the following purposes and services:
(e)For taking an affidavit for and making and issuing a marriage license and registering the return of the license, or for taking an affidavit for and registering a Declaration of Domestic Partnership, $25.
Finalizing the Union
After the ceremony, the minister must complete the final section of the marriage license, sometimes called the marriage certificate. He or she should include his or her full name, title (“minister”), and church name (“Universal Life Church”).
If asked to provide an address of ministry, give the address of your residence.
Finally, the minister and both newlyweds must sign the marriage license. The minister must then return the original, completed license to the clerk’s office in the county where it was issued.