Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Remember When . . . Marriage Was Sacred?

Did I get your attention with that subject line? LOL. You'll see what I mean by it in a second. =)

When I was doing some research for another book to follow Mafia Princess, I was looking up marriage laws in Maryland in the '20s. I had no clue about things like waiting periods, requirements for licensing, etc. And couldn't find it, of course, until I put out a "Help!" message to the HisWriter's loop. The fabulous Laurie Alice Eakes asked her law-school-going hubby about it, and he not only directed me to the online archives of MD state, he also browsed them for me and gave me the link to the one I need. Is that not the nicest thing??

Anyway. What I found was pretty interesting. These days there's considerable red tape surrounding a marriage. Licenses and certificates and fees and this and that. Given that it's a legal contract, that's to be expected. And as everyone knows, you can always just go to the courthouse and let a judge perform the ceremony, right? Much easier.

Not so in the '20s. There was a law that said (in legalese) that if one were to get married with a license but not by a member of the clergy, the marriage was not considered legal. However, if you got married by a member of the clergy without a license, the marriage was valid (though the clergyman could be fined for performing it without the legal documentation in place).

Isn't that interesting? As recently as the '20s, Maryland recognized marriage as a primarily religious, holy, and sacred union--as opposed to a strictly legal one.

*Totally off-topic, but hey. It's my blog. ;-) I'm putting together a Companion Guide for A Stray Drop of Blood. Come check out what David calls Encyclopedia Roseann-ica at *

1 comment:

  1. I'm so amused by the fact that both our blog entries today started off like that. It's like we think alike or something...