As the country is gripped with fear, Madison County has some happy news: the clerk’s office is being flooded with marriage licenses.
Madison County Clerk Kim Muir confirmed that within the last two weeks they’ve filed 154 marriage licenses and have received 38 completed licenses since March 19.
“(This is) very abnormal,” Muir said. “We have been crazy busy here for the last two weeks because everyone’s afraid that the government will shut down and they won’t get their licenses. Many were racing to the temple before it closed. Whoever was going to get married in the next few months figured they better not wait and get it done right now.”
Muir said they are requiring couples to make an appointment before coming into the office because all of the doors are closed. Couples can call the Madison County Clerk’s office for an appointment at 208-359-6244.
“We have been slammed,” she said. “It’s taken all we have to get these marriage licenses pumped out.”
Muir said for those who had venues close and need someone to marry them, the clerks recommend Idaho Falls Senior Judge Linda Cooke because Madison County doesn’t have a judge who does marriages.
Cooke confirmed that she has more appointments than normal.
“Yes and they call and want the wedding soon and part of it is because the school is shut down, I think,” she said. “They’re going home and they just want to get married before they leave.”
Cooke said that since March 9 she’s had 18 weddings. Usually, she gets one or two marriages a week “if that.” Cooke said she recently visited the Idaho Falls courthouse and many couples were trying to get their marriage licenses.
“I think the school is closing and they’re told to close out their apartment and leave,” she said. “They just want to leave together.”
Cooke said a majority of the people that she has recently married are not Rexburg residents. She said she’s had couples call for a quick wedding but then gets a callback later saying that they found their bishop, a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints religious leader. She suspects many in the area are going to their bishops for the wedding ceremony.
One of the largest venues in Rexburg is the Latter-day Saint temple. Every year many couples visit the site to get married and sealed. Recently the church announced that temples will no longer hold formal weddings but will continue to hold sealing ceremonies. This ceremony is believed to seal a couple together for all eternity.
On March 25 the First Presidency of the church shut down every temple, worldwide, regardless of the number of ordinances and rituals scheduled. It is unclear as to when they will reopen. There are more than 160 temples all over the globe.
“After careful and prayerful consideration, and with a desire to be responsible global citizens, we have decided to suspend all temple activity Churchwide at he end of the day on March 25, 2020,” according to a Church Newsroom press release. “This is a temporary adjustment, and we look forward to the day when the temples will reopen.”
Erika Lehmkuhl, deputy recorder at Fremont County, said they’ve not seen an influx recently but a few weeks ago they did. She said they’ve had four licenses filed in March.
Lehmkuhl said it’s hard to tell what’s a normal amount of marriage licenses.
“It’s usually hard to tell,” she said. “It’s just different all the time, in summer it picks up more because people get married in the summer. Day to day, month to month we’ve issued anywhere from zero to 20. We haven’t issued 150 in a month, that’s pretty crazy.”