2012 Delaware Code
Title 13 - Domestic Relations
CHAPTER 2. CIVIL UNIONS [EFFECTIVE AT 10:00 A.M. ON JAN. 1, 2012]
§ 205. Solemnization; license to perform; refusal to join persons in a civil union.


13 DE Code § 205 (2012 through 146th Gen Ass) What's This?

(a) A civil union entered into in this State shall become valid only upon completion of a solemnization in accordance with this section.

(b) A clergyperson or minister of any religion, current and former Judges of this State's Supreme Court, Superior Court, Family Court, Court of Chancery, Court of Common Pleas, Justice of the Peace Court, federal Judges, federal Magistrates, clerks of the peace of various counties and current and former judges from other jurisdictions with written authorization by the clerk of the peace from the county in Delaware where the civil union ceremony is to be performed may solemnize a civil union between persons who may lawfully enter into a civil union. The clerk of the peace in each county for good cause being shown may:

(1) Allow by written permit within his or her respective county, any duly sworn member of another state's judiciary, to solemnize civil unions in the State between persons who may lawfully enter into a civil union.

(2) Allow by written permit within his or her respective county, the clerk of the peace from another county within the State to solemnize civil unions in the State between persons who may lawfully enter into a civil union.

Within the limits of any incorporated municipality, the mayor thereof may solemnize civil unions between persons who may lawfully enter into a civil union. Civil unions shall be solemnized in the presence of at least 2 reputable witnesses who shall sign the certificate of civil union as prescribed by this chapter. Solemnization may be entirely secular or may be performed according to the forms and usages of any religious society. No civil union shall be solemnized without the production of a license issued pursuant to this chapter.

(c) Other than as provided in this subsection, nothing in this section shall be construed to require any person authorized to perform solemnizations of marriages or civil unions to perform a solemnization of a civil union, and no such authorized person who fails or refuses for any reason to join persons in a civil union shall be subject to any fine or other penalty for such failure or refusal. Notwithstanding the preceding sentence, a clerk of the peace or deputy thereof who issues a civil union license shall be required to perform a solemnization of such civil union if requested by the applicants for such license, and such solemnization shall be afforded the same order of priority as solemnization of marriages pursuant to Chapter 1 of this title. Clerks of the peace shall act pursuant to this chapter in the same manner as they act pursuant to Chapter 1 of this title, without discrimination as to whether the issue involves a marriage under Chapter 1 of this title or a civil union under this chapter.

(d) In the case of the absence or disability of the duly elected clerk of the peace, the chief deputy or, if there is no chief deputy, a deputy employed in the office of the clerk of the peace, shall be authorized to solemnize civil unions.

(e) Whoever, being authorized to issue a civil union license, knowingly or wilfully issues a license for a civil union prohibited by this chapter or, being authorized to solemnize a civil union, knowingly or wilfully assists in the contracting or solemnization of a prohibited civil union, shall be fined $100, and in default of the payment of such fine shall be imprisoned not more than 30 days.

(f) Whoever, not being authorized by this section, solemnizes a civil union, shall be fined $100, and in default of the payment of such fine shall be imprisoned not more than 30 days, and such civil union shall be void, unless it is in other respects lawful and is consummated with the full belief of either of the parties in its validity.

(g) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in § 213 of this title, if a civil union prohibited by this chapter is contracted or solemnized outside of the State, when the legal residence of either party to the civil union is in this State, and the parties thereto shall afterwards live and cohabitate as parties to a civil union within the State, they shall be punished in the same manner as though the civil union had been contracted in this State.

(h) The Superior Court shall have exclusive original jurisdiction over all proceedings for violations of this section.

78 Del. Laws, c. 22, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

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