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Goshen v. Stonington - 4 Conn. 209 (1822)

Rule:

A clergyman in the administration of marriage, is a public civil officer, and in relation to this subject, is not at all distinguished from a judge of the superior or county court, or a justice of the peace, in the performance of the same duty.

Facts:

This was an action of assumpsit, to recover the sum of 380 dollars, expended, by the plaintiffs, at the special instance and request of the defendants, for the support of Betsey Cooke, the wife of Joseph Cooke, and their five children, from the 8th of October, 1818, to the 9th of September, 1820, alleged to be paupers, having their legal settlement in the town of Stonington, and residing in the town of Goshen, at the time the support was furnished.

Issue:

Was the marriage between the alleged paupers valid?

Answer:

Yes

Conclusion:

An objection was also made to the validity of the marriage between the alleged paupers, upon which the claim of plaintiffs was founded. Whether the alleged paupers were legally settled in the Town of Stonington depended upon the validity of their marriage. The court found that marriage was authorized and was not susceptible of dispute. The court pointed out that the legislature passed an act, rendering valid all marriages performed by an ordained minister, qualified and empowered to celebrate them, according to the forms and usages of any religious society or denomination. The court found that law applied in the instant situation. Further, the court disagreed with defendants that the law was unconstitutional and/or void. The court declined the request for a new trial.

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