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State Laws for Ministers
North Carolina

51-1. Requisites of marriage; solemnization.
A valid and sufficient marriage is created by the consent of a male and female person who may lawfully marry, presently to take each other as husband and wife, freely, seriously and plainly expressed by each in the presence of the other, either:
a. In the presence of an ordained minister of any religious denomination, a minister authorized by a church, or a magistrate; and b. With the consequent declaration by the minister or magistrate that the persons are husband and wife; or
(2) In accordance with any mode of solemnization recognized by any religious denomination, or federally or State recognized Indian Nation or Tribe. Marriages solemnized before March 9, 1909, by ministers of the gospel licensed, but not ordained, are validated from their consummation.

51-1.2. Marriages between persons of the same gender not valid. Marriages, whether created by common law, contracted, or performed outside of North Carolina, between individuals of the same gender are not valid in North Carolina.

51-3.1. Interracial marriages validated.
All interracial marriages that were declared void by statute or a court of competent jurisdiction prior to March 24, 1977, are hereby validated. The parties to such interracial marriages are deemed to be lawfully married, provided that the provisions of this Chapter have been complied with.

51-6. Solemnization without license unlawful.
No minister, officer, or any other person authorized to solemnize a marriage under the laws of this State shall perform a ceremony of marriage between a man and woman, or shall declare them to be husband and wife, until there is delivered to that person a license for the marriage of the said persons, signed by the register of deeds of the county in which the marriage license was issued or by a lawful deputy or assistant. There must be at least two witnesses to the marriage ceremony.

51-7. Penalty for solemnizing without license.
Every minister, officer, or any other person authorized to solemnize a marriage under the laws of this State, who marries any couple without a license being first delivered to that person, as required by law, or after the expiration of such license, or who fails to return such license to the register of deeds within 10 days after any marriage celebrated by virtue thereof, with the certificate appended thereto duly filled up and signed, shall forfeit and pay two hundred dollars ($200.00) to any person who sues therefore, and shall also be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

51-19. Penalty for failure to record. Any register of deeds who fails to reco
rd, in the manner above prescribed, the substance of any marriage license issued by him, or who fails to record, in the manner above prescribed, the substance of any return made thereon, within 10 days after such return made, shall forfeit and pay two hundred dollars ($200.00) to any person who sues for the same.

Chapter 90: Medicine and Allied Occupations.
90-18. Practicing without license; practicing defined; penalties. (c) The following shall not constitute practicing medicine or surgery as defined in subsection (b) of this section:
      (5) The treatment of the sick or suffering by mental or spiritual means without the use of any drugs or other material means.

Article 18A - Psychology Practice Act.
90-270.4. Exemptions to this Article.
(e) Nothing in this Article shall be construed to prevent qualified members of other professional groups licensed or certified under the laws of this State from rendering services within the scope of practice, as defined in the statutes regulating those professional practices, provided they do not hold themselves out to the public by any title or description stating or implying that they are psychologists or are licensed, certified, or registered to practice psychology.

Article 18C - Marriage and Family Therapy Licensure
90-270.48A. Exemptions.
(a) This Article does not prevent members of the clergy or licensed, certified, or registered members of professional groups recognized by the Board from advertising or performing services consistent with their own profession. Members of the clergy include, but are not limited to, persons who are ordained, consecrated, commissioned, or endorsed by a recognized denomination, church, faith group, or synagogue. Professional groups the Board shall recognize include, but are not limited to, licensed or certified social workers, licensed professional counselors, fee-based pastoral counselors, licensed practicing psychologists, psychological associates, physicians, and attorneys-at-law. However, in no event may a person use the title "Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist," use the letters "LMFT," or in any way imply that the person is a licensed marriage and family therapist unless the person is licensed as such under this Article.

Article 24 - Licensed Professional Counselors Act
90-332.1. Exemptions from licensure.
(a) It is not the intent of this Article to regulate members of other regulated professions who do counseling in the normal course of the practice of their profession. Accordingly, this Article does not apply to:
      (5) Any ordained minister or other member of the clergy while acting in a ministerial capacity who does not charge a fee for the service, or any person invited by a religious organization to conduct, lead, or provide counseling to its members when the service is not performed for more than 30 days a year.

Article 26 - Fee-Based Practicing Pastoral Counselors
90-383. Exemptions.
(a) Nothing in this Article shall be construed as limiting the ministry, activities, or services of a minister called, elected, or otherwise authorized by a church, denomination, or faith group to perform the ordinary duties or functions of the clergy.

Article 36 - Massage and Bodywork Therapy Practice
90-624. Exemptions.
Nothing in this Article shall be construed to prohibit or affect: (6) The practice of movement educators such as dance therapists or teachers, yoga teachers, personal trainers, martial arts instructors, movement repatterning practitioners, and other such professions.
(7) The practice of techniques that are specifically intended to affect the human energy field.

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