2004 Regular Session
To: Judiciary A
By: Representative Cummings
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 93-1-5, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE CONDITIONS PRECEDENT TO THE ISSUANCE OF A MARRIAGE LICENSE; TO REPEAL SECTION 93-1-7, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, WHICH PROVIDES FOR PROTEST AGAINST ISSUANCE OF A MARRIAGE LICENSE; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 93-1-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
93-1-5. It shall be unlawful for the circuit court clerk to issue a marriage license until the following conditions precedent have been complied with:
(a) Parties desiring a marriage license shall make application therefor in writing to the clerk of the circuit court of any county in the state of Mississippi; provided, however, that if the female applicant shall be under the age of twenty-one (21) years and shall be a resident of the state of Mississippi, said application shall be made to the circuit court clerk of the county of residence of such female applicant. Said application shall be forthwith filed with the circuit court clerk and shall include the names, ages and addresses of the parties applying; the names and addresses of the parents of the parties applying, and if no parents, then names and addresses of the guardian or next of kin; the signatures of witnesses; and any other data which may be required by law or the Mississippi State Board of Health. The application shall be sworn to by both applicants.
(b) * * * The circuit court clerk shall issue the marriage license at the time the application is submitted. If either of the applying parties appears from the evidence to be under twenty-one (21) years of age, the circuit court clerk must require the consent of the mother or father or guardian of such minor to the marriage, to be given either personally or in writing, and, if the latter, the execution thereof must be proved. In the event the parents are divorced or never married, consent of the parent or legal guardian having legal custody in accordance with an existing custody order is required.
(c) An affidavit showing the age of both applying parties shall be made by either the father, mother, guardian or next of kin of each of the contracting parties and filed with the clerk of the circuit court along with the application; or in lieu thereof, said both applying parties shall appear in person before the circuit court clerk and make and subscribe an oath in person, which said affidavit shall be attached to and noted on the application for the marriage license. In addition to either of the previous conditions stated, further proof of age shall be presented to the circuit court clerk in the form of either a birth certificate, baptismal record, armed service discharge, armed service identification card, life insurance policy, insurance certificate, school record, driver's license, or other official document evidencing age. Said document substantiating age and date of birth shall be examined by the circuit court clerk before whom application is made, and the circuit court clerk shall retain in his file with the application such document or a certified or photostatic copy thereof for a period of one (1) year. Documentation presented to the circuit clerk as proof of age must be in an acceptable format that can be understood by the clerk. In the cases where an interpreter must be retained, the cost of the interpreter will be borne by the applicants. In lieu of a personal appearance by an interpreter, a notarized statement may be provided to the circuit clerk.
(d) The clerk shall not issue a marriage license under the provisions of this section unless the male applicant is at least seventeen (17) years of age, and the female is at least fifteen (15) years of age; provided, however, that if satisfactory proof is furnished to the judge of any circuit, chancery or county court that sufficient reasons exist and that said parties desire to be married to each other and that the parents or other person in loco parentis of the person or persons so under age consent thereto, then the judge of any such court in the county where either of such parties resides may waive the minimum age requirement and by written instrument authorize the clerk of the court to issue the marriage license to the parties if they are otherwise qualified by law. Authorization shall be a part of the confidential files of the clerk of the court, subject to inspection only by written permission of the judge.
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(e) In no event shall a license be issued by the circuit court clerk when it appears to the circuit court clerk that the applicants are, or either of them is, drunk. If a person appears to the circuit clerk to be either insane or an imbecile, the clerk shall inquire of the father, mother, guardian or next of kin of each of the contracting parties as to the applicants condition and upon this verification of fact, the clerk will make the decision as to the issuance of the license. If a verification of applicant's mental status cannot be obtained, a license shall not be issued.
(f) Any license issued under the provisions of this section shall be invalid if the marriage for which it was issued has not been solemnized within sixty (60) days from the date of issuance. No person now or hereafter authorized by law to solemnize marriages shall perform any ceremony or solemnize any marriage if the license issued for such marriage has become invalid. Said license shall be stamped or printed upon it the words: "This license is void after sixty (60) days unless the marriage is solemnized within said time."
Any circuit clerk shall be liable under his official bond because of noncompliance with the provisions of this section.
Any circuit court clerk who issues a marriage license without complying with the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction shall be punished by a fine of not less than fifty dollars ($50.00) and not more than five hundred dollars ($500.00).
SECTION 2. Section 93-1-7, Mississippi Code of 1972, which provides for protest against issuance of a marriage license, is repealed.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2004.