Subject: Re: How to get married w/o religious ceremonies? Date: 1 Jun 1993 07:11:04 GMT Le

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From: (Terry Chan) Newsgroups: alt.atheism,alt.folklore.urban Subject: Re: How to get married w/o religious ceremonies? Date: 1 Jun 1993 07:11:04 GMT Organization: Department of Redundancy Department Message-ID: <> Reply-To: (Terry Chan) Lee Rudolph forwards to a.f.u. an article from alt.atheism stating, among other things, that the captain of a "boat" can marry people,by which I take it to mean that the captain, on his own authority (i.e., he is also not an ordained minister or something like that) can perform marriages. So, (Bill Mayne) writes, among other things: +> I read somewhere that this is an urban legend. Whereupon sticks his nose in and sez: +Will the sponsor of the line + + "F. Ship captains, on their own authority, can perform marriages." + +from the alt.folklore.urban FAQ please stand up, identify h/hself, and +then proceed to duke it out with Dennis Gray Jr. while Cap'n Kirk holds +your coats? (Dennis Gray Jr.) wrote: +>I assume it is similar for plane captains, but on a ship or ferry +>boat, the captain has the authority to marry you by virtue that on his +>ship, he is the law of the land. + +>Especially in international maritime +>law. It reads something like: Upon the marriage of persons on the +>high seas [...stuff deleted] + +>And all this from a couple of navigation classes. If you want I +>will look up the exact part and post it for you... Well, I entered that line in the AFU FAQ list. But lest Phil Gustafson impale me with some of his scuba gear, I'll settle for a discussion. Dennis, your appeal to "international maritime law" sound good, but I would appreciate any references you can supply on this story. I have a reference to Cecil Adams' _More of the Straight Dope_. In it, he states that "so far as I can tell, sea captains in the U.S. cannot now and have not ever been able to perform marriages at sea or anywhere else, unless they also happen to be ministers or JPs [Justices of the Peace] or something." He notes that the US Navy and the British Mercantile Marine Office have taken the extraordinary step of "explicitly forbidding captains to do freelance weddings." He quotes from the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 32, Subtitle A, Chapter VI, Subchapter A, Part 700, Subpart G, Rule 716, also known as 32 CFR 700.716. In his quote from this section, it explicitly states that the commanding officer cannot perform a marriage on board "his ship or aircraft" nor can he permit a wedding to be performed onboard when the craft is outside US territory unless the wedding is both in accordance with local laws and there is a diplomatic or consular official of the US onboard. Adams also refers to the official logbook supplied by the British Mercantile Marine Office that states that weddings performed by the captain are not legal. Anticipating Dennis' line of reasoning, Adams notes that this belief probably arose from the hoary notion that the "captain the supreme authority on the ship." He does note that in the old USSR, captains were permitted to attest wills and draw up documents regarding births and deaths (but NOT to perform marriages). In performing these and other related duties, the ship's captain essentially becomes the registrar of any such events should they transpire. Finally, Adams note that he checked seaman's guides dating back to 1850 and found nothing supporting the other position. If you have supporting information that captains do indeed have such authority, I would love to see it. Moreover, Cecil Adams' editor, Ed Zotti is an infrequent contributor to a.f.u. and we can nail him bad if you have any evidence. Otherwise, you just might sympathize with Gahan Wilson. And no, Lee, I wouldn't let Captain Kirk hold my coat considering that 90% of the Internet can't even get his middle name, "Terry" right. Terry "Not Tiberious" Chan -- Energy and Environment Division | Internet: Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory | Berkeley, California USA 94720 | Don't worry, I'm loaded.


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