2015 - 2016 LEGISLATURE
November 13, 2015 - Introduced by Representatives Brostoff, Stuck, Genrich,
Johnson, Milroy, Goyke, Subeck, Kolste, Danou, Hintz, Hesselbein,
Barnes, Doyle, Gannon, Pope, Bowen, E. Brooks, Riemer, Kulp, Shankland,
Wachs, Ohnstad, Zepnick, Rohrkaste, Sinicki, Ballweg, Kitchens,
Thiesfeldt, Considine, Zamarripa, Kessler, Sargent, Meyers, Young, Barca,
A. Ott, Spreitzer and Jorgensen, cosponsored by Senators Carpenter,
Harris Dodd, Vinehout, Wirch, Hansen, Lassa, C. Larson and Roth.
Referred to Committee on Family Law.
1An Act to amend
765.16 (2m); and to create
765.16 (1m) (g) of the statutes; 2relating to: persons authorized to officiate at a marriage.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
This bill authorizes a mej koob to officiate at a marriage in accordance with
traditional Hmong wedding ceremony customs.
Under current law, a marriage is validly solemnized and contracted in this state
after a marriage license has been issued and the two parties mutually declare, before
an authorized officiating person and two witnesses, that they take each other as each
other's spouse. The following persons are authorized officiating persons: 1) an
ordained member of the clergy; 2) a licentiate of a denominational body or an
appointee of a bishop serving as the regular member of the clergy of any church of
the denomination to which the member of the clergy belongs; 3) the two marrying
parties themselves, by mutual declaration that they take each other as each other's
spouse; 4) a judge, reserve judge, or municipal judge; and 5) a circuit court
commissioner. This bill adds a mej koob, in accordance with traditional Hmong
wedding ceremony customs, to the list of who may officiate at a marriage. A mej koob
is an individual in Hmong culture who negotiates a marriage between the families
of the future bride and groom. A mej koob also conducts the wedding celebration and
ensures that the traditional Hmong cultural customs and rituals are followed during
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
765.16 (1m) (g) of the statutes is created to read:
(g) A mej koob, in accordance with traditional wedding ceremony 3
customs of the Hmong people.
765.16 (2m) of the statutes is amended to read:
An officiating person under sub. (1m) (a), (b), (d), (e), or
(f), or (g) 6
must be at least 18 years old.