October 24, 1989
Digest: A town justice, upon request of the couple being married, may incorporate religious customs into a civil marriage ceremony.
Rules: Code ( Canons) of Judicial Conduct; Rules of Judicial Conduct (22 NYCRR 100)
A town justice states that on more than one occasion, while solemnizing a civil marriage, he has been requested to recite traditional Hebrew blessings and read the traditional Jewish marriage contract. The justice inquires as to propriety of incorporating traditional religious customs into a civil ceremony.
Upon review of the Code (Canons) of Judicial Conduct, the Rules of the Chief Administrator of the Courts, and section 12 of the Domestic Relations Law, the Committee can find no prohibition against the Justice’s incorporating religious customs into a civil marriage ceremony at the request of the couple being married. A justice may incorporate religious customs into a civil ceremony upon such request.