Many states in the U.S. no longer support an official position called Justice of the Peace. And in at least one state (Rhode Island) that still does recognize the title of Justice of the Peace, officiating at a marriage ceremony is not a function JPs are authorized to do! Probably owing to the presence of JPs on the shores of this continent since the earliest European settlers, the term "Justice of the Peace" has come to connote any legal marriage officiant. Anywhere in the U.S., "going to the JP" is shorthand for "we're getting married." When used this way, getting married is often a last minute decision and the ceremony itself just a necessary means to the end.
The Justice of the Peace Association hopes to change that misleading impression! Slowly we are making inroads into all the states that still recognize the title of Justice of the Peace and inviting those JPs who consider it an honor and delight to officiate at a marriage ceremony to join the Association. Those are the JPs you'll find on findaJP.com. While most JPs will perform a two-minute ceremony if that's what the couple desires, even more will be thrilled to work with a couple planning an extended heart-felt ceremony, perhaps with family participation, unique vows and other personal touches.
In the states which have not designated Justices of the Peace as the legal civil officiant, we're reaching out to those whom the state has accredited to officiate at civil marriages, no matter what title they hold. In Maine where notaries are marriage officiants, several have become members of the Justice of the Peace Association. Florida and South Carolina are two other states where the notary is authorized to perform marriage. Stay tuned!