Beginning Jan. 1, Riverside County supervisors will be legally authorized to preside over weddings.
On Monday, Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 991, which amends the state Family Code to permit county supervisors to solemnize marriages. The legislation, introduced by Sen. Sharon Runner, R-Apple Valley, was unanimously supported by the Riverside County Board of Supervisors in a resolution in April.
Previously, under California law, parsons, rabbis, priests, judges, members of Congress, court commissioners, state legislators -- even mayors -- were authorized to preside in matrimonial ceremonies, but not supervisors.
Supervisor John Benoit penned the resolution stating the board's desire to see the law changed.
Benoit said he conducted one or two marriages while a state assemblyman and believed supervisors should have the same opportunity.
"County supervisors represent large constituencies (that), in some cases, (are) larger in area or population than local congressional or legislative districts," the supervisor wrote, noting that "constituents, friends and family" may like the idea of a supervisor presiding over a civil ceremony.
According to the legislation, the only requirement for a supervisor to solemnize a marriage will be for he or she to obtain instructions from the county clerk's office on the proper protocol.