Opinion 169

An opinion is requested concerning the effect of the 1992 amendment to O.C.G.A. § 19-3-9, relating to marriage licenses and ceremonies, upon Opinion No. 159 of this Commission issued August 23, 1991.

O.C.G.A. § 19-3-49, as amended, provides:

In addition to any compensation otherwise provided by law, any judge who performs a marriage ceremony at any time, except normal office hours, may receive and retain as personal income any tip, consideration, or gratuity voluntary given to such judge for performing such marriage ceremony.

In light of this amendment, that portion of Opinion No. 159 holding that it is inappropriate for a judge to accept gratuities for performing a marriage ceremony during normal office hours remains valid and is REAFFIRMED. However, the remaining portion of Opinion No. 159 holding that it would make no difference whether the ceremony was performed on a weekend on private property rather than at the courthouse in office hours is now in direct conflict with existing law and, consequently, is expressly WITHDRAWN.

Except as thus modified, Opinion No. 159 is reaffirmed in every respect.

[Pertinent Code of Judicial Conduct provisions: Rules 1.2(B), 2.8, 3.1(A), 3.11, 3.15. Cross reference to other relevant opinions for review: #8, #13, #50, #113, #159, #173.]

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