CHAPTER 126

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 1, TITLE 13, DELAWARE CODE, RELATING TO MARRIAGE LICENSES AND MARRIAGE LICENSE APPLICATIONS, AND MAKING A SUPPLEMENTARY APPROPRIATION TO THE STATE BOARD OF HEALTH TO EFFECTUATE THE AMENDMENT.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware:

Section 1. Amend § 106 (a), Title 13, Delaware Code, to read:

(a) Any ordained minister of the gospel and every minister in charge of a recognized church and, within the City of Wilmington, the Mayor of the City of Wilmington, may solemnize marriages between persons who may lawfully enter into the matrimonial relation. Marriages shall be solemnized in the presence of at least two reputable witnesses who shall sign the certificate of marriage as prescribed by this Chapter. Marriages may also be solemnized or contracted according to the forms and usages of any religious society where either of the parties belongs to such religious society. No marriage shall be solemnized or contracted without the production of a license regularly issued in accordance with this Chapter authorizing such marriage.

Section 2. Amend § 108, Title 13, Delaware Code, to read:

§ 108. Fee for issuing marriage licenses; prohibition of other charges

Clerks of the Peace shall sell marriage licenses for $3. each, $2. of which shall be deposited by the Clerks of the Peace with the State Board of Health for each license delivered to the various Clerks of the Peace, to defray the costs of the various forms and certificates required by this Chapter. No charge shall be made for investigation to establish the validity of any papers required of certain applicants for marriage licenses under the provisions of this chapter, nor shall any person in this State make any charge for the execution of any papers required under the provisions of this chapter, except that this shall not be construed to prohibit a charge for the execution of any affidavits that are required under the provisions of this chapter, and except that a charge may be made for the marriage license as provided in this chapter.

Section 3. Amend § 109, Title 13, Delaware Code, by repealing all of said section as now written and substituting in lieu thereof a new § 109 to read:

§ 109. Licenses issued by the Clerk of the Peace

The several Clerks of the Peace of the various counties, or their deputies, shall issue all marriage licenses and shall sign them and affix the county seal thereto.

Section 4. Amend § 110, Title 13, Delaware Code, by striking the words "or by a Justice of the Peace" in lines 1 and 2 thereof.

Section 5. Amend § 112, Title 13, Delaware Code, by striking the words "or Justice" in the section heading thereof and by striking the words "or any Justice of the Peace" in line 1 thereof.

Section 6. Amend § 113, Title 13, Delaware Code, to read:

§ 113. Supplies of marriage licenses, books and other forms; form

(a) Marriage licenses, other forms and books used in connection with the issuance of marriage licenses shall be furnished by the State Board of Health on request of the Clerks of the Peace.

(b) Judges shall supply certificates in whatever form they see fit to such divorced persons as they believe should receive them under the provisions of this chapter.

(c) Superintendents of asylums for insane shall supply certificates in whatever form they see fit to such persons as they believe should receive them under the provisions of this chapter.

(d) In the case of an adult person who is on probation or parole from any court or institution, the chief officer of such court or institution, or such person as such officer may appoint to give consent to marry, shall supply such consent in whatever form he deems advisable, to such applicants for a marriage license as he believes may properly marry.

(e) Marriage licenses, books and forms shall be as prescribed by the State Board of Health or in this Chapter. Each page of the Marriage Record Books for the use of Clerks of the Peace shall be numbered serially before delivery to the Clerks of the Peace.

Section 7. Amend § 114, Title 13, Delaware Code, by repealing all of said section as now written and substituting a new § 114 to read:

§ 114. Retention of marriage license by celebrant

The person performing the marriage ceremony shall retain, either the original or a copy of the marriage license, as may be directed by the State Board of Health, for not less than one year after the ceremony.

Section 8. Amend § 115, Title 13, Delaware Code, by repealing all of said section as now written and substituting a new § 115 to read:

§ 115. Forms for marriage license, certificates of marriage

(a) The State Board of Health shall prescribe a marriage license form which shall be issued by the several Clerks of the Peace and such other forms, books, dockets and records as may be necessary to properly record marriages, and the issuance of marriage licenses. The marriage license shall contain language authorizing any minister of the gospel or other person authorized by the law of the State to solemnize marriage, shall show: the earliest and latest time the marriage may be performed pursuant to the licensee, the place of issuance, of the license, the names of the parties, the signature of the issuing authority and such other wording as the State Board of Health may prescribe. The license shall also contain spaces to show a certification by the person performing the ceremony that the ceremony was performed and the date and time of the ceremony.

(b) The State Board of Health shall provide, for the person performing the marriage, a suitable form to be given without charge to the bride showing the date and place of the marriage and the celebrant, which shall be given to the bride immediately after the ceremony. The form may be, but need not be, the original or a copy of the marriage license.

Section 9. Amend § 116, Title 13, Delaware Code, to read:

§ 116. Duties of officer issuing marriage license

(a) The number on the marriage license shall be filled in by the issuing officer unless it has been previously affixed and shall be the same number as that appearing on the application. The issuing officer shall immediately note the issuance of a license in the appropriate Marriage Record Book, prescribed by the State Board of Health.

(b) The officer issuing the license shall fill in all the blanks provided on the license. The place and precise time of issue, and the earliest and latest time when the holders of the license may marry, shall be shown, and the issuing officer shall sign his name to the marriage license.

(c) If any Clerk of the Peace fails to perform the duties required by this Section, he shall be fined $100.

Section 10. Amend § 117, Title 13, Delaware Code, by repealing all of said section as it is now written and substituting a new § 117 to read:

§ 117. Forms to be sent to Clerk of the Peace; Duties of the Clerk

(a) The person performing the marriage shall, within four days after the ceremony return to the issuing Clerk of the Peace, such forms and papers as the State Board of Health may prescribe.

(b) The Clerk of the Peace shall immediately enter in the Marriage Record Book, as prescribed by the State Board of Health, the date of the marriage and the name of the person performing the ceremony.

Section 11. Amend § 118, Title 13, Delaware Code, by inserting the word "issuing" between the words "the" and "Clerk" in line 2 thereof.

Section 12. Amend § 119, Title 13, Delaware Code, to read:

§ 119 Marriage record books and license stubs; Public records

The Marriage Record Books and such other forms and records as may be prescribed by the State Board of Health shall be kept by the issuing officer in his office. They shall be public records open for the inspection of the public, and shall be admitted as evidence of the facts therein contained in any court of record.

Section 13. Amend § 120, Title 13, Delaware Code, to read:

§ 120 Marriage license application; appearance of parties; exception

Before any marriage license shall be issued by the issuing officer, the parties desiring to marry shall together appear before him and he shall examine both parties upon oath, or affirmation, in the presence and hearing of each other, according to the form prescribed in Section 122 of this Chapter, to which the parties applying for the license shall subscribe their names. The license shall be issued only after it has been made to appear that no legal impediment to the proposed marriage exists. In the case of critical illness of one of the parties desiring to marry, the physician attending such party may appear for him and make an application for a marriage license for him, if such physician first make an affidavit and delivers it to the issuing officer stating that in the opinion of said physician the party for whom he is acting, is at the point of death and that he may lawfully marry. The application for the marriage license shall be altered in such case to show that said physician acted as proxy and the affidavit of the physician shall be filed with the application.

Section 14. Amend § 122, Title 13, Delaware Code, to read:

§ 122. Marriage license application

The marriage license application shall be on such form as shall be prescribed and as provided by the State Board of Health and shall be permanently preserved by the issuing officer in the manner as prescribed by the State Board of Health. The marriage license application shall include the following information, and such other information as prescribed by the State Board of Health: date of application, full name, sex, race, birth date and occupation of applicants, names and addresses of parents of applicants, date and place of previous marriages and termination of previous marriages, place and court where applicants are on probation or parole, if such they be, and time of application. The application shall contain a certification by each applicant that he is not: of a prohibited degree of relationship; of any degree of unsoundness of mind; venereally diseased; suffering from any other communicable disease the nature of which is not known to the other party; an habitual drunkard; a confirmed user of a narcotic drug; and is not a pauper. The applicants and issuing officer shall sign the application and the issuing officer shall certify as follows: "I believe neither party is now under the influence of intoxicating liquor nor a narcotic drug. I have demanded and examined such papers as are required by law and I am satisfied that they are properly executed. I know of no legal impediment to the proposed marriage of the above applicants." The application shall also contain an appropriate affidavit form to be signed by persons certifying that an applicant is a resident of the State, if such certification is required.

Section 15. Amend § 123, Title 13, Delaware Code, by striking out the words "the Resident Associate Judge of New Castle County" in lines 2 and 3 of the second paragraph of (b) and inserting in lieu thereof the words "any Judge of the Superior Court". Further amend § 123 by striking out the words "the Resident Associate Judge of the county in which the minor resides" in lines 5 and 6 of the second paragraph of (b) and inserting in lieu thereof the words "any Judge of the Superior Court". Also strike out the words "the Resident Judge of the county where he resides" in lines 44 and 45 in (e) and insert in lieu thereof the words "any Superior Court Judge". Also strike out the word "Resident" in line 45 of (e). Further amend § 123 by striking the words "the Resident Judge" in line 48 of (e) and insert in lieu thereof the words "a Judge of the Superior Court".

Section 16. Amend § 128, Title 13, Delaware Code, to read:

§ 128. Performance of marriage ceremony in violation of chapter; false certificate of marriage; penalties

If any person or any religious society, having authority to solemnize marriages, performs any marriage ceremony without the presentation of a license therefor, obtained in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, or performs the same prior to the expiration of 96 hours from the time of the issuance of the license, when both parties are non-residents of the State, or prior to the expiration of 24 hours from the time of the issuance, when one or both parties are residents of the State, or after 30 days of the time of issuance of the license, he shall be imprisoned not more than six months, or fined not more than $500, or both. Any person or religious society, authorized to perform the ceremony of marriage, who shall make any false certificate of marriage, shall be fined $100.

Section 17. Amend § 148, Title 13, Delaware Code, by striking the words "The Resident Associate" in line 1 thereof and inserting in lieu thereof the word "Any". Also strike the words "in the county in which the license is to be issued" in lines 1 and 2 thereof.

Section 18. There is hereby appropriated for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 1963, to the State Board of Health the sum of $1,000 to be used for the purchase of the forms which the State Board of Health must supply pursuant to this Act.

Section 19. The sum herein appropriated is a supplementary appropriation and shall be paid out of any sums in the General Fund not otherwise appropriated.

Section 20. The provisions of this Act shall become effective 120 days after this Act becomes law.

Approved July 31, 1963.