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State Laws for Ministers
Maryland

Marriage - Family Law
2-201. Valid marriages.
Only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid in this State.

2-401. License required; penalty.
(a) License required.- An individual may not marry in this State without a license issued by the clerk for the county in which the marriage is performed.
(b) Penalty.- Any individual who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine of $100.

2-406. Performance of ceremony.
(a) Authorized officials.-
     (2) A marriage ceremony may be performed in this State by:
          (i) any official of a religious order or body authorized by the rules and customs of that order or body to perform a marriage ceremony
(b) Period during which ceremony may be performed.- Within 6 months after a license becomes effective, any authorized official may perform the marriage ceremony of the individuals named in the license.
(c) Performance by unauthorized individual prohibited; penalty
     (1) An individual may not perform a marriage ceremony unless the individual is authorized to perform a marriage ceremony under subsection (a) of this section.
     (2) An individual who violates this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine of $500. (d) Performance between individuals within prohibited degrees prohibited; penalty
     1) An individual may not knowingly perform a marriage ceremony between individuals who are prohibited from marrying under 2-202 of this title.
     (2) An individual who violates the provisions of this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine of $500.
(e) Performance without license prohibited; penalty
     (1) An individual may not perform a marriage ceremony without a license that is effective under this subtitle.
     (2) An individual who violates the provisions of this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine not exceeding $500.
(g) Forms of religious ceremonies.- This section does not affect the right of any religious denomination to perform a marriage ceremony in accordance with the rules and customs of the denomination.

2-408. Solicitation of individuals contemplating marriage; advertising in solicitation of marriages.
a) Prohibited acts.- An authorized official may not give or offer to give any reward to any person as an inducement to direct to the authorized official any individual who is contemplating marriage.
(b) Penalties.- An authorized official who violates the provisions of subsection (a) of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine not exceeding $50 for each offense.

Counseling/healing
Maryland State law does not distinguish ministers as exempt from most counseling fields of State license. This means as clergy you will need to be careful in offering services to people other than congregational members. The law defines "Licensed and Certified," as authorities of the State. However the law does not define spiritual, religious, Reikki, or other forms of spiritual or energy healings. This means that you are still able to perform the duties of your ministry, but may not advertise as other than religious functions. The State does specifically list the definitions of Acupuncture and Massage as Licensed authorities, so they may not be practiced for compensation. Of course ministers should never charge for their services, but the law is not allowed to limit freewill donations given in faith. Make sure that you comply with the laws of the State and do not represent yourself beyond the scope of religious authority.


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