If you’re getting married in Tulsa County, Oklahoma, it’s now legal to have an atheist conduct the ceremony!
I know we have Humanist Celebrants who can do this already, but the Freedom From Religion Foundation has been approved as “the equivalent of an ordaining organization.”
You don’t even need the Universal Life Church anymore…
State law says marriages must be performed by a judge or retired judge, or by an ordained or authorized preacher, minister or priest, or other ecclesiastical dignitary authorized by the church, or a rabbi. State law also makes provisions for religious groups that do not have ordained ministers, such as Quakers and Mormons.
[Coordinator of the Tulsa Coalition of Reason Bill] Dusenberry said when he contacted the state about it, he was told Oklahoma has county option on who may conduct weddings, so he went to the county.
Jason Jones, supervisor of the Family Division in the Court Clerk’s Office, said the three Freedom From Religion Foundation applicants presented letters stating they had met that organization’s requirements for performing marriages.
“That’s good enough for us to issue the license,” Jones said. “We don’t police that.”
Dusenberry said the Freedom from Religion Foundation has developed an application process for prospective celebrants that includes such requirements as having read 10 free-thought books; reading a newspaper or news magazine regularly; traveling outside Oklahoma at least three times; and being in love at least three times. He said the requirements are flexible.
The application process also includes a multiple-choice test that asks about the reliability of Fox News, and whether the Bible is ancient mythology, among other things.
I love that. It’s not all that serious of an application, as it shouldn’t be. The notion that someone has the “power” to wed a couple is silly. But since you do have to jump through a few hoops, FFRF wants to make sure you’re an ethical, educated person who’s experienced life.
Here’s the actual “examination” for prospective celebrants (PDF):
Tulsa County FFRF Celebrant Candidate Application
To apply to become a “Tulsa County FFRF Celebrant” a Celebrant candidate must:
(a) Be a member of FFRF;
(b) Be a college graduate, or, over 25-years of age;
(c) Have read ten “freethought-related” books acceptable to the FFRF Celebrant Committee
(d) Demonstrate an awareness of Oklahoma marriage laws and regulations.
(e) Pass a “Tulsa County FFRF Celebrant” examination;
(f) Read a daily newspaper, or weekly news magazine, on a regular basis;
(g) Never have been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude;
(h) Have been in love, at least three times;
(i) Have been self-sufficient, for at least three years;
(j) Have traveled outside of Oklahoma, at least three times;
(k) Be familiar with at least three different religious/philosophical organizations;
Couples applying to be married, by a “Tulsa County FFRF Celebrant” must:
(a) Submit and discuss, with the Celebrant, the couples combined income-based budget;
(b) Promise to not allow any of their children to be religiously or philosophically brainwashed;
(c) Be at least, 25-years of age; or, college graduates; or, be able to convince the FFRF Celebrant that both members requesting the marriage, have obtained adult maturity.
(d) Agree to a ‘comprehensive’ prenuptial agreement
You can disagree about certain points there, but the main thing to note is that it’s easy for most atheists to “pass” the test and it means that an atheist couple getting married doesn’t have to get a religious person to conduct their ceremony — and they don’t have to search high and low for a Humanist Celebrant.
They can get an atheist friend to stand-in for all those roles.
It’s a loophole that needed to be exploited and kudos to the Tulsa FFRF chapter for making that happen.