“Till Death Do Us Part” Takes a new Meaning as Marion County Justice Court Celebrates Halloween by Officiating Marriages All Day

Posted on October 6, 2023

Salem, OR — Justice of the Peace Justin Kidd announces that the Marion County Justice Court will celebrate Halloween on October 31, 2023, by officiating marriages all day.

Couples are encouraged to dress in their wedding best or don their most creative Halloween attire, because at this event, love and fright unite! Judge Kidd will attend the celebration as a Jedi, though he will wear the normal judicial robes on request.  The court will serve spooky treats, and there may be other Halloween surprises for couples who choose that day to say “I Boo.”

Judge Kidd and the Justice Court perform marriages throughout the year — about 120 ceremonies in 2022. Many couples choose Halloween for their ceremony to make their anniversary extra memorable. Another popular day is Valentine’s Day. Judge Kidd married 9 couples on Valentine’s Day 2023 in the “Day of Love” celebration.

This year, in addition to Halloween, many couples are choosing another spooky date – Friday the 13th of October – to celebrate their marriages. This kind of unforgettable, if bloodcurdling, date makes it easy to remember one’s anniversary.

Judge Kidd respects marriages of all kinds. “Marriage is a fundamental right, and our courthouse is here to make it accessible to all, even on the spookiest of days.” On a serious note, Judge Kidd wants the courts to be accessible places for all parts of our community. “This kind of celebration might seem silly, but it serves an important purpose. It makes clear that the court is here for everyone.”

Judge Kidd performs marriages in English and Spanish. “Offering weddings in Spanish is important,” he said, “because courts are here to serve the entire community.”

The court has a limited number of slots for Halloween. Interested couples will need to get a marriage license from their county clerk, and they will need to call 503.576.7200 for an appointment.

About the Marion County Justice Court: The Marion County Justice Court hears small claims, landlord-tenant claims, and violations (like traffic tickets). Justice Courts are The People’s Courts, designed to administer speedy and accessible justice. Most cases at Justice Court are pro-se, meaning that people represent themselves without lawyers. The judge at the Justice Court is known as the Justice of the Peace. Justices of the Peace have been part of Oregon’s judicial system since before Oregon was a state.

In recent years, the Justice Court has coordinated with the Marion County Circuit Court to move more than 5,000 cases each year from the circuit court to our court. That case movement has allowed the Circuit Court to focus on a higher level of more dangerous crimes. Before Judge Kidd joined Marion County, the Justice Court was doing around 18,000 cases per year. They now hear about 25,000 cases annually.

Weddings have also increased remarkably. Before 2021, the court did not perform any weddings. Last year, the Court performed 69 weddings, and 118 have already been performed this year, including 9 from Valentine’s Day. While most couples come from Marion and Polk Counties, other have come from Linn, Benton, Clackamas, and Multnomah Counties. So far, for Halloween, there are 8 couples scheduled to be married.

About Judge Kidd: Justin Kidd received his BA in Spanish from the University of Denver, a Master’s in Public Management from Carnegie Mellon University, and his JD from the University of California, Berkeley. After law school, he served as an Assistant Attorney General with the Oregon Department of Justice. He’s a “people person” who would much prefer being in the courtroom than writing a brief. He’s a foster and adoptive parent, so foster care issues are close to his heart.

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