May 13, 2022 - News

In Colorado, dogs can legally sign marriage licenses with their paws

A marriage license issued in Denver in 2019. Photo courtesy of Denver's Office of the Clerk and Recorder

Wedding season has officially arrived — and if you're a dog lover getting married in the Centennial State, we have a surprise for you.

State of play: Colorado law doesn't require a witness for couples to legally tie the knot.

  • That means your dog can "sign" your marriage license with his or her paw print and the paper is perfectly legal, Alton Dillard in the Denver County clerk's office tells us.
  • Colorado law doesn't require couples to have an officiant perform the ceremony, either, which opens the opportunity for your four-legged friend to conceivably preside. (Though their remarks might be brief…)

What they're saying: It isn't wildly common for paw prints to appear on official marriage documents, but it still happens more than you might think, "because… [it's] Colorado," a place where pets reign supreme, Dillard says.

How it works: Colorado is one of roughly two dozen states with a self-solemnizing marriage law that allows couples to officiate their own weddings without the signature of an officiating party.

  • All you have to do to get legally hitched with your furry friend as witness is apply for a marriage license for $30 from your local county clerk's office and return it within 35 days.

Of note: Any pet — including cats, birds and bunnies — can "sign," so long as you provide the ink and a helping hand or two.

  • But some municipalities may have different rules, so double check with your county clerk's office when applying for a license.

My thought bubble: As many people know, I'm getting married next fall and also a huge animal lover. So I was thrilled to learn about this legal loophole from a viral TikTok video.

  • Yes, but: Now I have the tough decision of picking which of my three boys gets the honor.
  • Who should it be: Ralfie, Rocco or Arlo? Email me at [email protected] to cast your vote.
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