HB 20 Adds Elected Officials to the List of Groups Who May Solemnize Weddings in Alaska
Juneau – Today, the Alaska State Legislature passed legislation sponsored by Representative Matt Claman (D-Anchorage) that amends the Alaska Marriage Code to include elected officials among the group of individuals who may formalize a marriage.
Under current Alaska statute, marriages may only be solemnized by a minister, priest, rabbi, or commissioned officer of the Salvation Army, a marriage commissioner or judicial officer, or any religious organization or congregation. House Bill 20 extends the same responsibility to elected officials. This change improves access to marriage solemnization in rural areas where fewer officials are pre-approved by the state. For instance, if a couple in a remote Alaskan village are set to be married and the minister becomes ill, an elected official could step in on short notice. Additionally, with courts remaining closed on Fridays, adding elected officials to this list provides Alaskans with another option without having to go through the time-consuming process of arranging for a marriage commissioner appointment.
“Part of our role as elected government officials is to reduce red tape and make government accessible to the public. In sponsoring this bill, I’d like to make marriage more easily accessible for Alaskans. HB 20 allows elected officials to be good stewards of government while providing a user-friendly service to the public,” said Rep. Claman.
HB 20 has garnered significant public support including from the Alaska Family Council and Alaskans Together for Equality.
House Bill 20 passed the Alaska Senate today by a vote of 17-2. The House of Representatives passed the legislation in February by a vote of 29-6. The bill will now be sent to Alaska Governor Bill Walker for his signature.
For more information, please contact Sara Perman in Rep. Claman’s office at (907) 465-6597.