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Baha'i Marriage Laws

Posted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 2:48 pm
by Michael1919
Hi Folks,

My brother in law is getting married on November 27th. He has indicated that he would like to be married in a Baha'i ceremony which, is pretty interesting as neither he nor his future spouse are Baha'i's.

The LSA has indicated that they would be willing to perform the ceremony and in my cursory look into the writings I have seen nothing prohibiting or condoning this practice, but it is a unique situation in my experience.

Does anyone out there have any scripture that is either in favour of, or against this practice?



Re: Baha'i Marriage Laws

Posted: Sun Nov 14, 2010 1:41 pm
by Sen McGlinn
Such a request is rare, but not entirely new. Such marriages are performed, based on Shoghi Effendi's permission

"There is no objection to performing a Bahá'í marriage for two non-Bahá'ís, if they desire to have our simple ceremony. This, on the contrary, is yet another way of demonstrating our liberality."

(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada, October 25, 1947: Bahá'í News, No. 202, December 1947, p. 2)

Re: Baha'i Marriage Laws

Posted: Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:00 pm
by Michael1919
Thank you Sen McGlinn. That quote is perfect.


Re: Baha'i Marriage Laws

Posted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 1:18 am
by Dame
I have reviewed this thread a number of times, and the Writings on marriage; including the reports on the marriage of Shogi Effendi and Mary Maxwell. It seems Bahai marriage requires the consent of all living natural parents and two witnesses (may also be the parents). The LSA is there to confirm parental consent, which would as well be verified if all living parents were present; and, to register the marriage with the authorities.

Given the state of marriage law in many jurisdictions, I question the value of registering a marriage, and see no particular requirement in the Writings for Bahai marriages to be registered with civil authorities.

Neither have I ever heard of LSA's questioning a person as to the registration or even religeous authenticity of marriage when they declare as Bahai's.

Re: Baha'i Marriage Laws

Posted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 11:36 am
by pilgrimbrent
I have myself served on a local spiritual assembly that performed a marriage for a non-Baha'i couple. They brought their parental consent letters. I don't remember if they brought witnesses or asked us to provide them. Besides the parental consents, they need to both recite the marriage vow exactly as written. Registration of the marriage may well be a state law in various jurisdictions. You would do well to check with the county clerk in that jurisdiction, or whatever agency issues marriage licenses. If they don't register the marriage, they have no legal proof the marriage was ever performed. In some states I think there are further restrictions, such as specific officers need to be present at the marriage; but that may have been in the past, and not required now. Marriage laws vary state by state. I would not characterize marriages of non-Baha'is by local assemblies as all that rare. Check with a big city assembly like Los Angeles or New York and you'd get more information.

Re: Baha'i Marriage Laws

Posted: Tue Nov 29, 2011 1:17 pm
by Michael1919
Hey folks,

Thought I'd resurrect this old post because it has an interesting twist. My brother in law and his partner backed out of a Baha'i marriage because they weren't interested in obtaining consent. However, my sister in law liked the idea so much that she had a Baha'i marriage this past September. I was elected to the LSA last April and appointed as a marrige conductor so that I could perform the marriage. It took place in a very conservative (Christian)area with around 150 guests. Even so, the brief explanation of the Baha'i Faith that I was able to give was very well received.

So thank you all for your input. Though the initial plan didn't work out, it did start the ball rolling toward something that was pretty unique to my little corner of the world.

Loving Regards,