Marriage Without Pastor and Without State License

Many pastors claim that it is their duty to authorize marriages suggesting that without them you cannot be married. But what does the Holy Bible say on the issue?

The first man was married without a pastor.

Genesis 2:21-25

And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept:
and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;

And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a
and brought her unto the man.

And Adam
said, This
is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be
called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.

Therefore shall a
man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave
unto his wife: and they
shall be one flesh.

And they were both naked, the
man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

Question: Was Adam married? Did Adam need a state license? Did Adam need the authorization of some man?

Genesis 11:29

And Abram and Nahor took them wives: the name of Abram’s wife was Sarai;
and the name of Nahor’s wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of
Milcah, and the father of Iscah.

Was Abraham married or not? Did Abraham need a pastor to authorize his marriage?

Genesis 24:67

And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she
became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s

Was Isaac married? Did Isaac need a pastor to authorize his marriage?

Genesis 25:1

Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah.

It is plain to see that God recognizes a couple as married when they “cleave unto” each other.

Genesis 2:23-24

And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she
shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother,
and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Matthew 19:3-9

The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it
lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?

And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that
he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,

And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and
mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?

Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What
therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a
writing of divorcement, and to put her away?

He saith
unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away
your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.

I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication,
and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is
put away doth commit adultery.

Additionally there is no scripture saying that marriage is only marriage when authorized by some pastor. Marriage licenses submits your marriage to the jurisdiction of the state, albeit unconstitutionally. See 5 Reasons Why Christians Should Not Obtain a State Marriage License .

Update: Please do not ask me where to find pastors that will conduct marriages without state involvement.  The pastor does not have the authority to marry people.


26 responses to “Marriage Without Pastor and Without State License

  1. You’re right. Nothing in scripture says that ANY man has the authority to pronounce two people husband and wife (Yahweh joins together, not man) or that two people must have a legal marriage license or that a couple’s marriage is not valid without all of these things. Yet, religious folk have been led astray on this subject and will not take the time to read, pray and be lead in truth regarding marriage. Then we wonder why most marriages don’t last these days!

    Anyway, nice blog…thanks for the read! 🙂


  2. I completely agree. Because we have given control to the government as a nation Christ noted give to Ceasar what is his. I don’t believe he was only talking about money. I believe it refers to the wider view of humanity in all things. In this case we’d be subject to the law first, then God, by his own words.

    Something cute in regards to this. In the movie Santa Claus is Coming to Town no town would accept Kris Kringle and his lady to marry them, so they married in the forest under the Lord’s blessing. This struck me just this year as I watched at 42 years old with my son. A child’s Christmas film acknowledges “Santa Claus” married Mrs. Claus in the eyes of God ’cause no town would. He has no marriage license either:) lol

    Great article. I’ve been researching others who have written similar articles. Great support through scripture. Thank you.

    Patience Phillips

  3. Great article…i’ve been following this issue for years and have always felt and still do believe that if we follow the Torah, we cannot go wrong. It’s said to say that the “reformation” and earlier church’s brought so many pagen rituals into the Yahweh’s Santuary.

    Is there a published list of Pastors who do perform marriage’s without licenses’s and what is your thought on even having a ceremony?

  4. How do you go about finding a Pastor that will marry you without a State License???
    We have requested this at our HOME CHURCH and were told no.
    Thank You for any help in this matter.

  5. Diane,

    There’s no need to have a “pastor” authorize your marriage. Marriage is a covenant between a man and his wife in the sight of God. Genesis 2:24, ” Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”

  6. Sirs,

    My fiance and I are elderly, and both have grown families. We wish to be married by a pastor, even though we know that God would honor our vows of marriage should we make them to each other. We are in New York State, and would like to be directed to a pastor not too far from New York, who would marry us. Thank you for your help. Eleanor

  7. Eleanor,

    Please read my previous comments. Thanks.

  8. robert blain

    I had a terrible divorce from a women I loved for 25yrs. The government seemed to serve only one purpose, to help destroy the marriage. I have a long a difficult statement to make so it is not appropriate here. I divorced her because of her comstant adultery, I have remarried a women whose exhusband commited adultery and she divorced after his refusal to reconsile. We both realized that we did not wish involve anyone other than ourselves and our Lord. My oldest son has in effect excommunicated me over this, he believes that we have set a bad example and that others will stumble over our choice. I am deeply hurt that he feels this way I wish somehow he could see the mess Legal marriages create.

  9. Robert, I am sorry to hear of your divorce. I pray that God will guide you in your current marriage and that you and your spouse will grow together in the Lord. I pray that God will comfort you and your spouse with his Holy Spirit. In the name of Jesus I ask these things.

  10. I’ve been thinking that maybe I should start studying how to do weddings to help folks seeking them without the states/gov’t involvement. It’s difficult because the gov’t controls pastors with regulations if they take 501c state tax free status. I don’t, so perhaps I can help. Let me know what you think and where I can start studying how.

    I haven’t used my title as I find I’m more approachable if I simply go as I am and minister to people without them feeling I’m at some elevated position, or a hypocrite as some pastors are driving people away from Christ. I feel strongly about the oxymoronically tyranny of state run marriages that pastors submit their people to.

    I’ve heard of states like Arkansas that have covenant marriages that are tough to divorce from, but don’t know details. Have you. Maybe I can use that format as a starting point.

    Shoot me an email if you can help me get started.


    PS- & yes, this is my real ‘legal’ name:) lol

  11. Just saw your update. Sorry I missed that before I wrote above. Perhaps I can help people feel they’ve had some sort of ceremony to give a sense of representation of our Father. A public celebration with vows and all if they are into something ‘traditional’ for their families. Let me know what you think?


  12. Dale R. Hart D.D.

    If you desire to make your marriage legal though in a court of law, just get your bible with the marriage certificate in the front and sign it. It is a legal Doc. You can also download a Marriage Covenant online and sign those they as well are legal Doc. I use these all the time with those that want a “church wedding” and a pastor to perform the vows with them. without involving the state. The state and federal govn. has caused many a good believers to live in sin because if they get married they lose their retirement, S.S. and whatever other benefits they may have. The state has no business lording over our lives. If we are living biblical according to Gods word they should not be a terror to us but unto evil. drh

  13. Patience,

    I do believe that marriage ceremonies are fine. I am aware that some marriage ceremonies are rooted in the occult. I will have to do some research in that area.

  14. I agree to disagree with you. Many things in the Old Testament are meant for that time. We can’t have more than one wife, we can’t have slaves, we no longer can cut off hands and stone people to death, so to use those examples is inaccurate.

    Here is a New Testament scripture for you to mull over.
    Romans 13:1Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

    So it may not be right exactly in YOUR eyes but it is right in the eyes of God if you are obedient to the law because it is not unrighteous to God, and does NOT affect your salvation. So that being said you are to suffer through and do it the way the law requires. God will bless you for that.

    And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

  15. Randy, do you worship the government?

    Read Romans 13 by Chuck Baldwin.

    Blind obedience to the state leads to tyranny. If you want to allow the state to run your life, go ahead. But I will serve God rather than man. Besides, there is NO law (and I have read some marriage statues) requiring married couples to have a license. You can choose not be licensed and thus not recognized as married in the eyes of the state.

    It’s because of people like you that tell people to do whatever big brother says that our government is going down the drain.

  16. My fiance and I have been engaged for almost nine years. We cannot legally marry because we are both disabled and are on Social Security. WE have studied commitment cermonies but altimately because we are Christians would love to have a covenant marriage. We live in NY state and have no intention of turning it in to the government. We believe God has already given us the authority to wed. If a pastor won’t do a ceremony( our church pastor won’t) who could be the person to replace a clergyman? We would like someone Christian and believed in what were doing or else the ceremony would be bogus to us. WE don’t want to do the ceremony just ourselves, is there anyone else you suggest? We have been praying for years and going through alot trying to have a non governmental ceremony be ok even with our family. Thank you and get back.

  17. I have a circumstance to present and would like some feed back. I was married legally with a state license to a woman that commited adultery so I wrote her a certificate of divorce and gave it to her church as well and the church received it. I never sought a legal divorce from my first wife. My current wife did the same thing to her ex husband who commited adultery too. She never sought a legal divorce but wrote him a letter too. My current wife and I authorized our own marriage with my dad as a witness and we did it oursleves in faith before the Lord. We feel that the Lord accepted it. Do you think we are wrong in this action? -JaY

  18. Jay,

    I don’t think you are wrong in your action. However, I think legally divorcing may terminate the state license and it may be a good idea. It is not necessary to get a new state license. Keep the government out of your marriage by all means.

  19. Erin,
    Read my article and previous comments.

  20. Les McFall has an interesting way to deal with the exception clause in Matthew 19:9. He has written a 43 page paper that reviews the changes in the Greek made by Erasmus that effect the way Matthew 19:9 has been translated. I reviewed McFall’s paper at Except For Fornication Clause of Matthew 19:9. I would love to hear some feedback on this position.

  21. Rashad, thank you for your feedback. Soory I never checked this sooner. TC -JaY

  22. All of you who are looking to ‘get married’ w/o state involvement, I’ve read online where technically it’s legal, in the court of law… as long as your marriage is recorded in front of a bible…. ‘like a wedding bible/family bible’…. also you can get a certificate, and get a pastor to perform an online ceremony at this site: >>> just some ‘food for thought’

  23. My boyfriend and I want to get married without the government being involved. We want a ceremony involving the kids. How do we go about this?

  24. My boyfriend Aaron and I want to get married WITHOUT a pastor and marriage license.
    He’s from England, so it’s a little different. Some of my family says that we really NEED this mirriage license. Bull-shit!
    I don’t want one, neither does Aaron.
    So we’re going to get married the natural way.
    Sex is the natural marriage. You come together as one flesh. That’s what it meant in the bible.
    Even though I’m Atheist, that doesn’t mean I can’t believe some of the stuff in the bible.

    I’m only sixteen. And I CAN be married if I want. My dad doesn’t care, as long as I’m happy. And that’s all I want to be.
    I do not want to lose my rights. ANY of them. Or I’ll be tricked and violated by the government.
    Wake up, people. 🙂
    I know a LOT of you have.

  25. gracelucille

    This is a great article. Love love love it!

    People, you DO NOT NEED an ordained minister to perform your wedding ceremony, that’s exactly what this article is saying!!
    My best friend and her husband performed the ceremony themselves. They wrote and exchanged their own vows before God and family and friends. It was simple and beautiful. My fiance and I plan to do the same thing.

  26. How do you find a Preacher who will do a ceremony without a marriage license?