Rev. Jude Smith

Hudson Valley Weddings and Ceremonies

Interfaith Non-Denominational Minister and Civil Wedding Officiant


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Marriage Equality

To My Gay and Lesbian Brothers and Sisters,
When asked if I perform same sex marriages, my answer always is that I perform marriages.  Period.  It feels offensive to me to label the sort of marriages that I perform, or the people with whom I work.  The only reason I am doing so now is to make sure that you can find me through the search engines, and to provide a little bit of clarification about New York State's Marriage Equality Act, since for many, the process leading to marriage can seem complicated and unknown.

Way before I officiated my first same-sex wedding ceremony (Thank you Teresa and Cindy!) I knew that love was love, and that love knew no gender.  I knew that we were all created equal, and that we were each entitled to proudly and publicly proclaim the loves of our lives, and that it was a private matter meant for individuals to decide.  As gay and lesbian couples began coming to me, and as I could see the realness of each love that was being celebrated, I have become committed to doing all that I can do to see the day arrive when anyone can choose their partners.  Anywhere. 

It would be my absolute pleasure to officiate at your wedding ceremony, and to co-create with you a hand-crafted ceremony that captures all the  joy and beauty of your love.  And if you are looking for a simpler ceremony, I am also available to officiate at simple civil ceremonies throughout the Hudson Valley.

In addition to the Hudson Valley, I regularly officiate throughout the tri-state area, and I am registered in all the boroughs of New York City as a wedding officiant and non-denominational minister.  I also specialize in destination weddings - your place or mine - and I am comfortable working remotely if you are traveling to the Hudson Valley from outside the area.

To demystify the process, and to assist you in planning your wedding ceremony, I have included highlights of the New York State Marriage Equality Act.  I invite you to contact me by email, or give me a call if you have any questions, and to begin the process of hand-crafting a wedding ceremony that will be as original as you are.

Rev. Jude

As a spiritual practice, I regularly donate a percentage of my income to causes that I believe in. Thanks to the inspiration of the love shared between Chris and Chris, and to meeting Brian Silva, Executive Director of the grassroots organization
Marriage Equality USA at their wedding, I have committed to donating 10% of all fees I receive from same-sex couples to MEUSA, in support of this very worthy cause.  May the day come soon when any couple in love, anywhere, can proclaim that love publicly, in ways that will provide them with the equal rights many take for granted.  It is my pleasure to do my small part to facilitate the coming of this day.

New York State Marriage Equality Act
Frequently Asked  Questions

What is the Marriage Equality Act?
On June 24, 2011, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed into law the Marriage Equality Act. The Law amends New York's Domestic Relations Law in the following ways:

  • Applications for a marriage license shall be granted regardless of whether the parties are of the same or a different sex;
  • A marriage that is otherwise valid shall be valid regardless of whether the parties to the marriage are of the same or a different sex;
  • No government treatment or legal status, effect, right, benefit, privilege, protection or responsibility relating to marriage shall differ based on the parties to the marriage being of the same sex or a different sex;
  • No religious entity, benevolent organization or not-for-profit corporation that is operated, supervised or controlled by a religious entity, or its employees, can be required to perform marriage ceremonies or provide its facilities for marriage ceremonies, consistent with its religious principles.

Who can get married now?
Any couple that meets current requirements for getting married in New York State is eligible to marry regardless of sex.

Is there a waiting period?
Yes. Although the marriage license is issued immediately upon application, current law mandates that the marriage ceremony cannot take place within 24 hours from the exact time that the license was issued. When both applicants are 16 years of age or older, the 24-hour waiting period may be waived by an order of a justice of the Supreme Court or a judge of the County Court of the county in which either of the applicants resides. If either person is under 16 years of age, the order must be from the Family Court judge of the county in which the person under 16 years of age resides.

Where can I obtain the form for a marriage license?
A couple that intends to be married in New York State must apply in person for a marriage license to any town or city clerk in the state outside of New York City. The application for a license must be signed by both applicants in the presence of the town or city clerk. A representative cannot apply for the license on behalf of either applicant.

Are town or city clerks required to give me a marriage license?
Yes, under New York State Law, the town or city clerk must provide a license to applicants who meet all marriage requirements for New York State.