They Will be Officiating Marriages All Day!
Love is in the Halls of Justice as Justice of the Peace Justin Kidd announces that the Marion County Justice Court will celebrate a “Day of Love” on February 14, 2024, by officiating marriages all day. The Court is building on last year’s event when ten couples married – in an event that the Oregon to rename us “Marryin’ County”.
From the witness box to the judge’s dais, the courthouse will be decorated to celebrate the big day. Volunteers from Salem’s Center 50+, Meda Duggan will festoon the courtroom with balloon hearts, turtledoves, and butterflies, all to celebrate the couples’ big day.
During the event, the Court will offer “loaner flowers” — a bouquet and boutonnieres for couples to borrow. The court will provide cupcakes for the happy couple, and clerks will play the “Wedding March” for anybody who wants it while they walk down the courtroom aisle. The event is intended to make the day special for all couples, including couples with modest means.
Judge Kidd and the Justice Court perform marriages throughout the year – more than 170 ceremonies in 2024. Many couples choose Valentine’s Day for their ceremony to make their anniversary extra memorable. The second most popular day is Halloween, when some couples come dressed in costumes. And this year, five couples have already signed up to marry on Leap Day, February 29.
Judge Kidd performs marriages in English and Spanish.
“This court is here to serve our entire community,” said Kidd, “and Spanish language wedding ceremonies make the courthouse accessible to people who have not always felt welcome in our court system.”
Access to justice is an important personal issue to Judge Kidd.
“Whether you’re rich or poor, the state should recognize the equal dignity of your marriage,” Kidd said. “We want to make the day special, even for couples of modest means.”
Judge Kidd has reached out to community partners, including Arches and Church at the Park to make sure all couples know they are welcome at the event.
The court has a limited number of slots for the Day of Love. But slots are filling quickly. 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.
About Judge Kidd: Justin Kidd received his BA in Spanish from the University of Denver, a Masters 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.