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  #51  
Old 02-01-2019, 07:27 PM
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This thread brings 2 questions to my mind.
1. Can you have your boat registered (flagged) by The Conch Republic?
2. How does the Conch Republic feel about captains officiating at marriages at sea?
  #52  
Old 02-01-2019, 08:16 PM
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This thread brings 2 questions to my mind.
1. Can you have your boat registered (flagged) by The Conch Republic?
2. How does the Conch Republic feel about captains officiating at marriages at sea?
1. No, since it's not an actual polity
2. How could you, or anyone, know what the CR "feels"?
  #53  
Old 02-02-2019, 05:21 AM
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The claim that ship captains cannot preside at a marriage may apply to legal marriage in many or most present-day countries, but I wonder about its general validity. First, one would have to define "marriage"! In Thailand for example, the ceremony that makes cohabitation "not sinful" and legal registration of a marriage are unrelated.

Consider the opinion of Judge Kellogg of the New York Court of Appeals in Fisher v. Fisher, 165 N.E. 460 (NY 1929):
Quote:
... When the ship was forty miles out from the port of New York, its captain performed a marriage ceremony ...

Congress had provided that "every vessel making voyages from a port in the United States to any foreign port" should have an official log book; that every master of such a vessel should make entry therein of "Every marriage taking place on board, with the names and ages of the parties." (Mason's U.S. Code, vol. 3, title 46, sec. 201.) "Every marriage taking place on board" is certainly inclusive of marriages other than those sanctioned by the municipal laws of the State of the ship's ownership. We take it that Congress had thus recognized that on board a ship at sea, notwithstanding the absence of municipal laws so carried, there is nevertheless a law of marriage. That law can be none other than the law, common to all nations, which pronounces valid all consensual marriages between a man and woman who are, in the view of all civilized people, competent to marry. In this view, the marriage between the parties to this action, by force of a Federal statute, which Congress was fully empowered to enact (The Hamilton, supra), was a valid marriage.
Not only did the Judge find this marriage valid, but he calls attention to an act of Congress that seems to make a ship's master responsible for recording such marriages.
  #54  
Old 02-02-2019, 09:41 AM
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It's like people don't read the column. Cecil addressed Fisher vs. Fisher.

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This ambivalence has resulted in decisions on both sides of the fence. In Fisher vs. Fisher the court ruled a marriage by a shipís captain valid; in an 1898 case in California, Norman vs. Norman, the court ruled the opposite. Itís important to note that in Fisher the court did not specifically single out shipsí captains (as opposed to say, mailmen) as having the power to perform marriages; rather it ruled that, absent a statute to the contrary, and subject to certain other conditions, an exchange of vows between consenting parties constituted a valid marriage ó as I read it, whether there was an officiant or not. In other words, marriage by shipís captain, or by anybody other than a recognized minister, JP, etc., was a type of common-law marriage.
Also, Ann Hedonia,

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So far as I can tell, sea captains in the United States cannot now and have not ever been able to perform marriages at sea or anywhere else, unless they also happen to be recognized ministers or JPs or something.
Your example of Bermuda fits into that category. They have licenses to perform the ceremonies. Probably smart PR for Princess and Bermuda.
  #55  
Old 02-02-2019, 11:51 AM
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It's like people don't read the column. Cecil addressed Fisher vs. Fisher.
Uhh ...... The Master has spoken? He cites one case with a Captain's marriage ruled valid; one without. Should we go for 2-out-of-3?

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A close reading of Fisher suggests the ceremony might as well have been performed by a waiter.
And Dear Master missed the significance of "that every master [Captain] of such a vessel should make entry therein of every marriage taking place on board." The significance of anyone presiding over a marriage is to witness. Judge Kellogg noted that Congress gave the specific duty to the Captain.

A clear-cut answer? No, hardly. Is the generalization that Ship's Captains never perform marriages too facile? Certainly, whatever "Cecil" might think.
  #56  
Old 02-02-2019, 01:31 PM
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I read Fisher to suggest that the captain (or other responsible officer) must, under Federal law, note any shipboard weddings in the log, but not that the captain necessarily has the authority to officiate over the wedding. The happy couple could have been married by a member of the clergy they invited along for the occasion, or a vacationing priest who just happened to be available and willing to perform the ceremony.
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Old 02-03-2019, 03:29 AM
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It strikes me the Master must log a wedding, sort of like a Clerk of Courts must record a wedding.
  #58  
Old 02-04-2019, 12:38 AM
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If the ship is registered to a Common Law jurisdiction, then the Captain has the authority to perform a marriage, just like anybody else does.
  #59  
Old 02-04-2019, 02:51 AM
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If the ship is registered to a Common Law jurisdiction, then the Captain has the authority to perform a marriage, just like anybody else does.
The vast majority of common law jurisdictions now require some form of marriage license.
  #60  
Old 02-07-2019, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
I read Fisher to suggest that the captain (or other responsible officer) must, under Federal law, note any shipboard weddings in the log, but not that the captain necessarily has the authority to officiate over the wedding. The happy couple could have been married by a member of the clergy they invited along for the occasion, or a vacationing priest who just happened to be available and willing to perform the ceremony.
I read the statue quoted in the Fisher opinion (based only on the quote in this thread) to be that the captain must record marriages, but that doesn't imply authority to carry them out-- after all, presumably the Captain must also record deaths but that doesn't imply he (or anyone else) has the general authority to cause them.

The Fisher opinion seems to run with that pretty far, in my opinion (as someone pretty ignorant of both family and maritime law). I assume the judge was looking for a way to use the general and sensible rule of "If everyone involved acts like it's a valid marriage for an extended period of time, it is valid, regardless of any minor technical issues", but the legal reasoning seems pretty shaky to me. It's a pretty big jump from Congress writing a law about ship management and adding a couple words saying marriages are one of many things to be recorded, to Congress clearly intending that ships should be a marriage anarchy zone, with marriages have no rules at all but legally binding in the U.S. Again I'm ignorant of maritime law, but I would presume there's some locality's legal code in force on a ship (again, ships are not penalty-free-murder zones), so why wouldn't that code for marriages be in force too?
  #61  
Old 02-07-2019, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
What self-respecting Starfleet captain would preside over a wedding in a torn shirt? Not James T. Kirk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YS3PQgCVF4U
Getting married by James T. Kirk ranks right up there with marrying a Cartwright. It's gonna be a short marriage.
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Old 02-07-2019, 09:09 PM
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Getting married by James T. Kirk ranks right up there with marrying a Cartwright. It's gonna be a short marriage.
Well, it's a pretty small data set, after all. He only did it once, that we know of.
  #63  
Old 02-25-2019, 08:20 PM
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In the recent "Deflectors" episode of the sf comedy/drama The Orville, set aboard a Planetary Union starship sometime in the future, Capt. Ed Mercer mentions that he has the authority to perform weddings.
  #64  
Old 02-26-2019, 04:13 PM
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In the recent "Deflectors" episode of the sf comedy/drama The Orville, set aboard a Planetary Union starship sometime in the future, Capt. Ed Mercer mentions that he has the authority to perform weddings.
Captain Sisko performs at least one marriage on DS9, but that may have been in his religious role as the Emissary of the Prophets irrespective of his role in Starfleet.
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  #65  
Old 02-26-2019, 05:13 PM
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Captain Sisko performs at least one marriage on DS9, but that may have been in his religious role as the Emissary of the Prophets irrespective of his role in Starfleet.
Yes, that's how I remember it, too.
  #66  
Old 02-26-2019, 05:45 PM
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I was thinking that he was implied to have authority to solemnize marriages in both capacities, but I am not sure.
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  #67  
Old 05-15-2019, 08:35 AM
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There's also a very satisfying shipboard wedding in Patrick O'Brian's novel The Surgeon's Mate. William Babbington, having been trained by Jack Aubrey himself in the duties and privileges of a ship's master in His Majesty's Navy, performs the ceremony after a brief reference to the regulation manual....
I just finished The Fortune of War (1979), the novel in the series just before The Surgeon's Mate (1980), and in it Capt. Broke of HMS Shannon is told by his crotchety old ship's clerk, when he asks, that the captain does indeed have authority to marry a couple.
  #68  
Old 05-15-2019, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
I just finished The Fortune of War (1979), the novel in the series just before The Surgeon's Mate (1980), and in it Capt. Broke of HMS Shannon is told by his crotchety old ship's clerk, when he asks, that the captain does indeed have authority to marry a couple.
Babbington does say it is in his manual "after the burial service", so I guess we could check.
  #69  
Old 05-15-2019, 05:27 PM
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Well, it's a pretty small data set, after all. He only did it once, that we know of.
It's a null set, in fact, they don't even finish the ceremony.
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  #70  
Old 05-15-2019, 11:17 PM
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It's wrong to insist on a single definite answer to such an ambiguous question.

If the question were 'Will courts of the U.S.A. uphold a marriage by a ship's captain' then we'd know the answer, already given up-thread: 'Unclear; of two cited court cases one upheld the marriage, the other didn't.'

But the U.S.A. is not the only government or culture in the world. And the 21st century is not the only epoch.

Many cultures have ideas about the solemnization of marriage, and sometimes government doesn't get involved at all. Often the key issue is whether the couple can morally sleep together, and NOT, e.g. what boxes they're legally allowed to check on a Form 1040.

In many human cultures the key part of a marriage ceremony is that the wedding be witnessed in a dignified setting by serious witnesses. That such a ceremony at sea can and should be directed by the ship's captain is too obvious for debate.
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