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Work Rules for Marriage Commissioners

August 17, 2009

Make that “work to rule.”

I have a suggestion for marriage commissioners who do not want to marry same-sex couples.  They should agree to perform the ceremony but they should do just that … perform the ceremony.  Nothing more.  Just say the words which must be said and sign the documents which must be signed.

Although I’ve never been to a wedding performed by a marriage commissioner (or a justice of the peace), I assume that they say a bit more than that.  Perhaps a bit of a welcome and introduction is offered with some improvising during the actual marriage ceremony.

Here’s what they have to do according to the The Marriage Act, 1995:

Marriage by marriage commissioner
31 Marriage may be solemnized by a marriage commissioner and contracted in
his or her office or any other place he or she selects, but only in the following form
and manner:
(a) the marriage must be contracted in the presence of the witnesses
mentioned in section 37, and with open doors;
(b) in the presence of the marriage commissioner and witnesses, each of the
parties shall declare: “I do solemnly declare that I do not know of any lawful
impediment why I, A.B., may not be joined in matrimony to C.D.”; and each of
the parties shall say to the other: “I call upon these persons here present to
witness that I, A.B., do take you, C.D., to be my lawful wedded wife (or
husband)”; after which the marriage commissioner shall say: “I, E.F., a
marriage commissioner, by virtue of the powers vested in me by The Marriage
Act, 1995, do hereby pronounce you A.B. and C.D. to be husband and wife”.
1995, c.M-4.1, s.31.

That’s it.  Boring, no?

Perhaps if this “work to rule” method were used, each couple who wanted to get married would only hire marriage commissioners who were willing to do the type of ceremony which they wanted.  Everyone’s happy.

Just a thought.  Or maybe a sign that I’ve been thinking too much.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Bob permalink
    July 30, 2010 2:46 pm

    In conversation with a marriage commissioner a few days ago, I told him of a wedding I had attended that day where the priest used the term “…declare you man and wife” he stated that the term “….husband and wife” must now be used in Saskatchewan for the couple to be legally married. Is this so. Thank you.


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