When a couple wishes to get married, they must undergo a process that validates their marriage before the law. This means that they will be recognized by the law as a married couple and are entitled to certain benefits and rights. In order to obtain such benefits and rights, they must first acquire a marriage license. A marriage license is a legal document that validates, sanctions, and grants the union between 2 people.
A marriage license is usually issued to a couple by a local, regional, or even national government. However, it is also possible that religious priests or their equivalent be given the power in conjunction with the government in issuing marriage licenses. It is possible that a couple marries in a religious function, but their marriage may not be recognized by the government if they were not issued a marriage license.
For example, every state in the United States has the power to issue marriage licenses. However, each state has its own requirements and criteria before a couple can be granted a marriage license. Generally speaking, all states require that both individuals be of the marriageable age of 18. Some states do allow younger individuals to marry given that they have obtained written consent of their parents.
In order to be issued a marriage license, both individuals must apply for the license in person, usually at a court office. They then fill out an application form, which they present along with a kind of identification such as a driver’s license or state ID.