ADVERTISING AND CHARGING
FOR MARRIAGE SERVICES

Opinion No. 72 (1983)*


QUESTION:
1. Can a judge place an advertisement in the personals section of the newspaper classified ads to inform the public that he will perform marriages? The ad would read either "Weddings by Judge - home phone number," or "Weddings Performed - home phone number."
2. Can a judge charge a fee to perform a wedding? Does the location of the wedding matter as to whether there can be a fee, i.e., in chambers vs. a house call or other private place?

ANSWER: The Committee is of the opinion that a judge who advertises the performance of weddings and charges fees for weddings violates the Code of Judicial Conduct. Section 1.83 of the Family Code (Vernon Supp. 1982) authorizes a judge to perform weddings. To advertise and charge fees for a service the judge can perform only because of judicial office violates Canon 5C(1) which requires a judge to refrain from financial dealings that exploit his judicial position.

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*Canon 5C(1) was amended effective December 19, 1989.