On March 11, the District of Columbia Council published an intention to introduce legislation, B19-142, the sole outcome of which would be to allow notaries public to solemnize marriage. (PDF)
I’ve been watching for this because I know the person who put the bug into the ear of a member of the Council. (I’m also watching for another bill, but I’ll announce that when it becomes law.) But why would this be a good idea?
- There’s a shortage of officiants willing to do a non-sectarian or secular service. Surely not a small concern in a town as secular was Washington, and where same-sex marriage is the permitted under the law.
- Notaries can already execute oaths.Â Notaries can solemnize marriage in South Carolina.
- Lawyers, in neighboring Virginia, can solemnize marriage. This would make the process of getting married in D.C. a bit easier.
I think this law would be a improvement, even if — as a credentialed marriage officiant in D.C. — it might cost me some business. (I’ve always been open to conducting a purely secular service because of the shortage of options, but I rarely do a wedding these days.)
The part that makes me smile? I’ve asked my employer to sponsor my commission as a, um, notary public.