Newly introduced legislation provides a more accessible option for issuing marriage licenses
Sacramento, CA—Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco) announced a bill today to give couples the ability to have their marriage licenses issued virtually. Announced just ahead of Valentine's Day, Assembly Bill 583 will make the current temporary pandemic policy on remote marriage licenses permanent and create uniform processes for issuing licenses remotely.
“As an elected official, officiating weddings has been a true honor and brought me joy,” said Assemblymember Chiu. “This bill is a small step we can take to make government services more accessible and spread the love.”
During the pandemic, it has been difficult, if not impossible, for couples to obtain marriage licenses through traditional in-person processes. To mitigate COVID risks, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order in April 2020 allowing county clerks to issue marriage licenses remotely through video conferencing. This policy is temporary and would expire after California’s state of emergency order is lifted.
While the ease and convenience of this option has made it incredibly popular with couples in the counties that chose to implement it, each county has administered the order slightly differently. The ease of services varies based on location.
AB 583 would make permanent the option to obtain marriage licenses remotely. The bill would also create a standardized process for issuing licenses virtually, ensuring that this option is accessible across the state.
Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) is a coauthor of AB 583. The bill is being sponsored by the California Association of Clerks and Election Officials.
“Most all aspects of our lives have gone virtual during this pandemic, including weddings and getting a marriage license,” said Senator Skinner. “I had the honor of officiating a virtual wedding last year when it was impossible for the couple to show up in person. The circumstance this couple faced could happen to anyone, even beyond the pandemic, so I’m proud to co-author legislation to authorize virtual marriage licenses and weddings well after the COVID crisis is over.”
AB 583 is expected to be heard in an Assembly policy committee this spring.