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State Laws for Ministers

551.1 Marriage between individuals of same sex as invalid contract. 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 that 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.

551.2 Marriage as civil contract; consent; license; solemnization So far as its validity in law is concerned, marriage is a civil contract between a man and a woman, to which the consent of parties capable in law of contracting is essential. Consent alone is not enough to effectuate a legal marriage on and after January 1, 1957. Consent shall be followed by obtaining a license as required by section 1 of Act No. 128 of the Public Acts of 1887, being section 551.101 of the Michigan Compiled Laws, or as provided for by section 1 of Act No. 180 of the Public Acts of 1897, being section 551.201 of the Michigan Compiled Laws, and solemnization as authorized by sections 7 to 18 of this chapter.

551.271 Marriages solemnized in another state validated.
(1) Except as otherwise provided in this act, a marriage contracted between a man and a woman who are residents of this state and who were, at the time of the marriage, legally competent to contract marriage according to the laws of this state, which marriage is solemnized in another state within the United States by a clergyman, magistrate, or other person legally authorized to solemnize marriages within that state, is a valid and binding marriage under the laws of this state to the same effect and extent as if solemnized within this state and according to its laws.
(2) This section does not apply to a marriage contracted between individuals of the same sex, which marriage is invalid in this state under section 1 of chapter 83 of the revised statutes of 1846, being section 551.1 of the Michigan Compiled Laws.

551.272 Marriage not between man and woman invalidated.
Sec. 2. This state recognizes marriage as inherently a unique relationship between a man and a woman, as prescribed by section 1 of chapter 83 of the Revised Statutes of 1846, being section 551.1 of the Michigan Compiled Laws, and therefore a marriage that is not between a man and a woman is invalid in this state regardless of whether the marriage is contracted according to the laws of another jurisdiction.

551.7 Persons authorized to solemnize marriage; records; returns; disposition of fees charged by mayor or county clerk. (1) Marriages may be solemnized by any of the following:
      (h) A minister of the gospel or cleric or religious practitioner, anywhere in the state, if the minister or cleric or religious practitioner is ordained or authorized to solemnize marriages according to the usages of the denomination.
      (i) A minister of the gospel or cleric or religious practitioner, anywhere in the state, if the minister or cleric or religious practitioner is not a resident of this state but is authorized to solemnize marriages under the laws of the state in which the minister or cleric or religious practitioner resides.
(2) A person authorized by this act to solemnize a marriage shall keep proper records and make returns as required by section 4 of 1887 PA 128, MCL 551.104.

551.9 Solemnization of marriage; form; declaration by parties; witnesses.
In the solemnization of marriage, no particular form shall be required, except that the parties shall solemnly declare, in the presence of the person solemnizing the marriage and the attending witnesses, that they take each other as husband and wife; and in every case, there shall be at least 2 witnesses, besides the person solemnizing the marriage, present at the ceremony.

551.14 Unlawful marriage by person authorized to solemnize marriage; penalty.
If a person authorized to solemnize marriages knowingly joins any persons in marriage contrary to the provisions of this chapter, he or she shall forfeit for each offense a sum not exceeding $500.00.

551.15 Ceremony performance with knowledge of lack of authority or legal impediment; penalty.
If any person shall undertake to join others in marriage, knowing that he is not lawfully authorized so to do, or knowing of any legal impediment to the proposed marriage, he shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail not more than 1 year, or by a fine not less than 50 nor more than 500 dollars, or by both such fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court.

551.17 Denominational modes of solemnization; effect of chapter. The preceding provisions of this chapter, so far as they relate to the manner of solemnizing marriages, shall not affect marriages among the people called Friends or Quakers; nor marriages among people of any other particular denomination, having, as such, any peculiar mode of solemnizing marriages; but such marriages may be solemnized in the manner heretofore used and practiced in their respective societies or denominations.

There is a common misconception within many County agencies that a charter is required to perform marriages or that the ordaining organization has to be chartered by the State. This is only a requirement though the Land Management acts if you or your ordaining body are a domestic corporation of Michigan. Private Associations, proprietary ministries and out of State churches providing ordination are not required under the land management act to charter with the State. If you become a domestic corporation of Michigan, a 501c3 in Michigan, you will need to charter with the State. The State of Michigan is not allowed in law to require out of State agency to charter as domestic corporation so this does not apply to most UM member/ministers.

551.339 Confidentiality; privileged communications; exemption. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2), a communication between a counselor in the family counseling service and a person who is counseled is confidential. The secrecy of the communication shall be preserved inviolate as a privileged communication which privilege cannot be waived. The communication shall not be admitted in evidence in any proceedings. The same protection shall be given to communications between spouses and counselors to whom they have been referred by the court or the court's family counseling service. (2) A family referred by the court with custody or parenting time problems whose adult members sign an agreement indicating the purpose of the referral is exempt from subsection (1). A report of an evaluation of those families shall be submitted to the court with indicated recommendations.

(1) If a patient communicates to a mental health professional who is treating the patient a threat of physical violence against a reasonably identifiable third person and the recipient has the apparent intent and ability to carry out that threat in the foreseeable future, the mental health professional has a duty to take action as prescribed in subsection (2). Except as provided in this section, a mental health professional does not have a duty to warn a third person of a threat as described in this subsection or to protect the third person.
      (b) Makes a reasonable attempt to communicate the threat to the third person and communicates the threat to the local police department or county sheriff for the area where the third person resides or for the area where the patient resides, or to the state police.
      (c) If the mental health professional has reason to believe that the third person who is threatened is a minor or is incompetent by other than age, takes the steps set forth in subdivision (b) and communicates the threat to the department of social services in the county where the minor resides and to the third person's custodial parent, noncustodial parent, or legal guardian, whoever is appropriate in the best interests of the third person.

333.16171 License for practice of health profession; exemptions.
(d) An individual who provides nonmedical nursing or similar services in the care of the ill or suffering or an individual who in good faith ministers to the ill or suffering by spiritual means alone, through prayer, in the exercise of a religious freedom, and who does not hold himself or herself out to be a health professional.

Practice of psychology 333.18214 Permissible conduct.
(5) This part does not prohibit a clergyman, professional educator, or professional counselor, including an alcoholism or drug abuse counselor, whose practice may include preventive techniques, counseling techniques, or behavior modification techniques from practicing his or her profession consistent with his or her training and with a code of ethics for that respective profession.
(6) This part shall not apply to a participant or employee in a program licensed under part 62 or self-help, peer counseling, or support services provided by a nonprofit organization.

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