December 27, 1983
Compensation for performing weddings
This is in response to your inquiry of November 21, 1983. You want to know whether a judge may accept a gratuity for performing weddings.
In Opinion 73/5 we stated that a judge could accept compensation for the performance of weddings, not to exceed what a person who is not a judge would receive for the same service, and on condition that the judge make a report of this income.
Of the nine members of the Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges responding to your inquiry, eight felt that Opinion 73/5 should be broadened to add: (1) that the performance of marriages not detract from judicial duties, and (2) that the judge not accept compensation for performing marriages during normal working hours at the courthouse. As to the latter, the majority felt that it was entirely proper for the judge to accept compensation for performing a marriage in a home or park in the evening or on a weekend. It was felt it was improper to accept compensation for performing marriages during normal working hours at the courthouse because the judge would then be using the facilities and authority provided him by his office for private gain.
One member felt the only restriction should be that a judge's regular work not be affected, and that the time and place of performing the ceremony is not critical.
James T. Carlisle
Chairman, Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges
Participating members: Judges Carlisle, Booth, Turner, Green, Grube,
Tedder, Letts, Dell and
attorney at law Samuel Powers, Jr.