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State Laws for Ministers

Section 13A-13-6 Endangering welfare of child.
(b) A person does not commit an offense under Section 13A-13-4 or this section for the sole reason he provides a child under the age of 19 years or a dependent spouse with remedial treatment by spiritual means alone in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination by a duly accredited practitioner thereof in lieu of medical treatment.

Section 13A-14-4 Fraudulently pretending to be clergyman. Whoever, being in a public place, fraudulently pretends by garb or outward array to be a minister of any religion, or nun, priest, rabbi or other member of the clergy, is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $500.00 or confinement in the county jail for not more than one year, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

Section 30-1-7 Persons authorized to solemnize marriages. (a) Generally. Marriages may be solemnized by any licensed minister of the gospel in regular communion with the Christian church or society of which the minister is a member; by an active or retired judge of the Supreme Court, Court of Criminal Appeals, Court of Civil Appeals, any circuit court, or any district court within this state; by a judge of any federal court; or by an active or retired judge of probate.
(b) Pastor of religious society; clerk of society to maintain register of marriages; register, etc., deemed presumptive evidence of fact. Marriage may also be solemnized by the pastor of any religious society according to the rules ordained or custom established by such society. The clerk or keeper of the minutes of each society shall keep a register and enter therein a particular account of all marriages solemnized by the society, which register, or a sworn copy thereof, is presumptive evidence of the fact.
(c) Quakers, Mennonites, or other religious societies. The people called Mennonites, Quakers, or any other Christian society having similar rules or regulations, may solemnize marriage according to their forms by consent of the parties, published and declared before the congregation assembled for public worship.

Section 30-1-8 Fee for performing marriage.
Any person authorized under this chapter to celebrate the rites of matrimony is entitled to $2.00 for each marriage solemnized.

Section 30-1-11 Penalty for solemnization of marriage without license.
Any person authorized under this chapter to perform a marriage ceremony, who joins any persons in marriage without a license as required by this chapter or who goes out of the state and marries persons, one or both of whom reside in this state, without such license or a license from the state in which the marriage is celebrated, forfeits $1,000.00, one half to the use of the state, and the other half to the use of any person who may sue for the same.

Section 30-1-14 Failure of minister, etc., to return marriage certificate to probate judge.
Any judge, minister of the gospel or other person uniting persons in matrimony or any clerk or keeper of the minutes of a religious society celebrating marriage by the consent of the parties before the congregation, who fails to return a certificate thereof to the judge of probate, as required by law, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Section 30-1-19 Marriage, recognition thereof, between persons of the same sex prohibited.
(a) This section shall be known and may be cited as the "Alabama Marriage Protection Act."
(b) Marriage is inherently a unique relationship between a man and a woman. As a matter of public policy, this state has a special interest in encouraging, supporting, and protecting the unique relationship in order to promote, among other goals, the stability and welfare of society and its children. A marriage contracted between individuals of the same sex is invalid in this state.
(c) Marriage is a sacred covenant, solemnized between a man and a woman, which, when the legal capacity and consent of both parties is present, establishes their relationship as husband and wife, and which is recognized by the state as a civil contract. (d) No marriage license shall be issued in the State of Alabama to parties of the same sex.
(e) The State of Alabama shall not recognize as valid any marriage of parties of the same sex that occurred or was alleged to have occurred as a result of the law of any jurisdiction regardless of whether a marriage license was issued.

Section 22-50-17 Minister Counseling
Certificate or license required to operate facility for care or treatment of mental or emotional illness or services to mentally retarded.
No person, partnership, corporation, or association of persons shall operate a facility or institution for the care or treatment of any kind of mental or emotional illness or services to the mentally retarded as defined in this chapter, without being certified by the department or licensed by the State Board of Health; provided that nothing in this section shall be construed so as to require a duly authorized physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker or Christian Science practitioner to obtain a license for treatment of patients in his private office, unless he keeps two or more patients in his office for continuous periods of 24 hours or more in one week.

Section 34-17A-5 Exemptions.
(6) A minister of religion or a nurse when practicing within the scope of his or her expertise.
(b) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent qualified members of other licensed professional groups, including, social workers, attorneys, psychiatric nurses, psychologists, physicians, or professional counselors, or members of the clergy, from providing or advertising that they provide marriage and family therapy or counseling consistent with the accepted standards of their respective professions.
(c) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to permit marriage and family therapists licensed pursuant to this chapter to administer, dispense, or prescribe drugs, or in any manner engage in the practice of medicine as defined by the laws of this state.

Section 34-30-21 Exemptions from licensing requirements.
(a) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent qualified physicians, surgeons, psychologists, psychotherapists, attorneys, marriage counselors, family counselors, school counselors or members of the clergy or any other individual from doing work within the standards and ethics of their respective professions and calling; provided, that they shall not hold themselves out to the public by any title or description of service as being engaged in the practice of social work.

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