POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Utah’s online marriage licensing gets attention all over the world

Mar 29, 2023, 6:00 PM | Updated: Mar 30, 2023, 8:51 am

An online marriage licensing portal has grabbed the attention of Israel, where historically marriag...

An online marriage licensing portal has grabbed the attention of Israel, where historically marriage is controlled by the Rabbinate. (Photo credit: Getty images)

(Photo credit: Getty images)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah County Commissioner Amelia Powers Gardner made a simple policy change moving marriage licensing online, that had a ripple effect all over the world. 

She joined Boyd Matheson on Inside Sources to discuss how the change started in Utah County. 

Gardner said it all started when she joined the government with the intent to make aspects of life easier for citizens. 

“I was married four months before I took office. And my husband had to take a day off of work before our wedding. With three children in tow, we went down to the marriage license office. And filled out pieces of paper on clipboards with pencils,” she said. “And I just thought there’s gotta be a better way to do this.”

Then, in January 2020, Garder with the help of other teams launched an online marriage portal. Through the portal, partners can get legally married without help from a licensing office. 

“That’s really how this whole thing started. Let’s make the government easy to do business with,” Gardner told Matheson. 

Following the pandemic, the online portal began receiving requests not just from Utahns, but from all over the world. However, at the time the marriage licenses could only be used in Utah. 

“But then it occurred to me, if I’m performing the marriage and I’m sitting in Utah does that mean this marriage is valid,” Gardner questioned.

It was concluded that if judges allowed individuals to appear in court via zoom, then people should be allowed to be married via zoom. 

Marriage in Israel, and what’s next on Gardner’s agenda 

Not long after this decision, online marriage licensing got the attention of Israel. 

“In Israel, marriage is controlled by the Rabbinate, which is basically the religious authority,” Gardner explains. 

Until the creation of the online marriage portal, in Israel up until now, civil marriage was not allowed. That includes those who are of different religions or those who aren’t religious. 

“Israel Supreme Court found unanimously that marriages performed by Utah County via zoom are in fact valid in Israel,” said Gardner. 

Some other areas Gardner says we should look at, aside from marriage licenses, are making government overall more convenient for people. 

Currently, Gardner hopes to change the process of some health services. 

“See how many of these services can we let people sign up for remotely. So a single mom isn’t taking time off work to get a birth certificate to register her daughter for kindergarten,” she said to Matheson. 

Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson can be heard weekdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app. 

Related reading: Church reacts to Biden signing Respect for Marriage Act into law

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Utah’s online marriage licensing gets attention all over the world