2017 - 2018 LEGISLATURE
November 8, 2017 - Introduced by Senators Carpenter and Wirch, cosponsored by
Representatives Weatherston, Zamarripa, Berceau, E. Brooks, Considine,
Fields, Genrich, Hesselbein, Horlacher, Kolste, Ohnstad, Pope,
Rohrkaste, Sargent, Skowronski, Subeck and Kulp. Referred to Committee
on Public Benefits, Licensing and State-Federal Relations.
1An Act to amend
765.08, 765.09 (3) (b), 765.12 (2), 765.23 and 765.30 (3) (a) and 2
(b) of the statutes; relating to: marriage license application requirements,
3issuance, and validity.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
This bill makes various changes to the requirements relating to marriage
licenses. Under the bill, a county clerk is required to accept certain documentation
in lieu of a birth certificate for the purpose of obtaining a marriage license. Under
current law, an applicant for a marriage license may present other documentary
proof of the information found in the birth certificate, but the clerk has discretion
regarding whether or not that documentation is satisfactory. The bill requires the
clerk to accept a valid U.S. passport, driver's license, permanent resident card, or
naturalization paper as satisfactory documentary proof in lieu of a birth certificate.
This bill also decreases the waiting period for a marriage license from five days
to 24 hours. Under the bill, the county clerk retains the discretion to waive the
minimum waiting period and charge a fee of up to $25 to cover any additional
processing cost incurred by the county for expediting the license. Finally, the bill
extends the period for which a marriage license is valid from 30 days to 60 days.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
765.08 of the statutes is amended to read:
2765.08 Application for marriage license. (1)
Except as provided in sub. 3
(2), no marriage license may be issued within 5 days 24 hours
of application for the 4
The county clerk may, at his or her discretion, issue a marriage license 6
within less than 5 days 24 hours
after application if the applicant pays an additional 7
fee of not more than $25 to cover any increased processing cost incurred by the 8
county. The county clerk shall pay this fee into the county treasury.
765.09 (3) (b) of the statutes is amended to read:
(b) Each applicant for a marriage license shall exhibit to the clerk 11
a certified copy of a birth certificate, and each applicant shall submit a copy of any 12
judgment or death certificate affecting the applicant's marital status. If any 13
applicable birth certificate,
death certificate or judgment is unobtainable, other 14
satisfactory documentary proof of the requisite facts therein may be presented in lieu 15
of the birth certificate,
death certificate or judgment. If a birth certificate is
16unobtainable, a valid U.S. passport, state driver's license, permanent resident card,
17or naturalization paper may be presented in lieu of the birth certificate and shall be
18considered satisfactory documentary proof for purposes of this paragraph. 19
Whenever the clerk is not satisfied with the documentary proof presented, he or she 20
shall submit the presented proof to a judge of a court of record in the county of 21
application for an opinion as to its sufficiency.
765.12 (2) of the statutes is amended to read:
The marriage license shall authorize the marriage ceremony to be 24
performed in any county of this state within 30
days of issuance, excepting that 25
where both parties are nonresidents of the state, the ceremony shall be performed
only in the county in which the marriage license is issued. The officiating person 2
shall determine that the parties presenting themselves to be married are the parties 3
named in the marriage license. If aware of any legal impediment to such marriage, 4
the person shall refuse to perform the ceremony. The issuance of a marriage license 5
shall not be deemed to remove or dispense with any legal disability, impediment or 6
prohibition rendering marriage between the parties illegal, and the marriage license 7
shall contain a statement to that effect.
765.23 of the statutes is amended to read:
9765.23 Immaterial irregularities otherwise.
No marriage hereafter 10
contracted shall be void either by reason of the marriage license having been issued 11
by a county clerk not having jurisdiction to issue the same; or by reason of any 12
informality or irregularity of form in the application for the marriage license or in 13
the marriage license itself, or the incompetency of the witnesses to such marriage; 14
or because the marriage may have been solemnized in a county other than the county 15
prescribed in s. 765.12, or more than 30 60
days after the date of the marriage license, 16
if the marriage is in other respects lawful and is consummated with the full belief 17
on the part of the persons so married, or either of them, that they have been lawfully 18
joined in marriage. Where a marriage has been celebrated in one of the forms 19
provided for in s. 765.16 (1m), and the parties thereto have immediately thereafter 20
assumed the habit and repute of husband and wife, and having continued the same 21
uninterruptedly thereafter for the period of one year, or until the death of either of 22
them, it shall be deemed that a marriage license has been issued as required by ss. 23
765.05 to 765.24 and 767.803.
765.30 (3) (a) and (b) of the statutes are amended to read:
(a) Penalty for unlawful solemnization of marriage.
Any officiating 2
person who solemnizes a marriage unless the contracting parties have first obtained 3
a proper marriage license as heretofore provided; or unless the parties to such 4
marriage declare that they take each other as husband and wife; or without the 5
presence of 2 competent adult witnesses; or solemnizes a marriage knowing of any 6
legal impediment thereto; or solemnizes a marriage more than 30 60
days after the 7
date of the marriage license; or falsely certifies to the date of a marriage solemnized 8
by the officiating person; or solemnizes a marriage in a county other than the county 9
prescribed in s. 765.12.
(b) Penalty for unlawful solemnization by parties.
Where a marriage is 11
solemnized without the presence of an officiating person if the parties to such 12
marriage solemnize the same without the presence of 2 competent adult witnesses 13
or more than 30 60
days after the date of the license; or falsely certify to the date of 14
such marriage; or solemnize the same in a county other than the county prescribed 15
in s. 765.12.