Chapter 1. Persons Authorized To Solemnize Marriage of California Family Law Code >> Division 3. >> Part 3. >> Chapter 1.
Although marriage is a personal relation arising out of a
civil, and not a religious, contract, a marriage may be solemnized by
any of the following who is 18 years of age or older:
(a) A priest, minister, rabbi, or authorized person of any
religious denomination. A person authorized by this subdivision shall
not be required to solemnize a marriage that is contrary to the
tenets of his or her faith. Any refusal to solemnize a marriage under
this subdivision, either by an individual or by a religious
denomination, shall not affect the tax-exempt status of any entity.
(b) A judge or retired judge, commissioner of civil marriages or
retired commissioner of civil marriages, commissioner or retired
commissioner, or assistant commissioner of a court of record in this
(c) A judge or magistrate who has resigned from office.
(d) Any of the following judges or magistrates of the United
(1) A justice or retired justice of the United States Supreme
(2) A judge or retired judge of a court of appeals, a district
court, or a court created by an act of Congress the judges of which
are entitled to hold office during good behavior.
(3) A judge or retired judge of a bankruptcy court or a tax court.
(4) A United States magistrate or retired magistrate.
(e) A legislator or constitutional officer of this state or a
Member of Congress who represents a district within this state, while
that person holds office.
In addition to the persons specified in Section 400,
marriage may also be solemnized by a county supervisor, the city
clerk of a charter city or serving in accordance with subdivision (b)
of Section 36501 of the Government Code, or a mayor of a city
elected in accordance with Article 3 (commencing with Section 34900)
of Chapter 4 of Part 1 of Division 2 of Title 4 of the Government
Code, while that person holds office. The county supervisor, the city
clerk, or mayor shall obtain and review from the county clerk all
available instructions for marriage solemnization before the county
supervisor, the city clerk, or mayor first solemnizes a marriage.
(a) For each county, the county clerk is designated as a
commissioner of civil marriages.
(b) The commissioner of civil marriages may appoint deputy
commissioners of civil marriages who may solemnize marriages under
the direction of the commissioner of civil marriages and shall
perform other duties directed by the commissioner.
In addition to the persons permitted to solemnize marriages
under Section 400, a county may license officials of a nonprofit
religious institution, whose articles of incorporation are registered
with the Secretary of State, to solemnize the marriages of persons
who are affiliated with or are members of the religious institution.
The licensee shall possess the degree of doctor of philosophy and
must perform religious services or rites for the institution on a
regular basis. The marriages shall be performed without fee to the