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civil marriage a marriage performed by a government official, such as a justice of the peace, rather than a clergyman.
J.P. abbreviation of "Justice of the Peace," the lowest level of magistrate in some U. S. states, whose jurisdiction is usu. part of a county and whose duties include administering oaths, performing marriages, and trying minor cases.
magistrate a public official who exercises a judicial or executive function, such as a mayor or justice of the peace.