Who Needs God at a Wedding? February 10, 2017

Who Needs God at a Wedding?

An article in the Columbus Dispatch discusses secular weddings and how many atheists these days get away without using a priest. The secret? Humanist celebrants perform all the functions of a religious leader without any of the nonsense.

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Caroline Martin and her husband, Dan Smucker, of Clintonville, said their wedding wouldn’t have been special if it had included mention of a higher power. Martin, 27, and Smucker, 26, got married by [Humanist Celebrant August] Brunsman in 2015. Their wedding included a white dress and many other trappings of tradition, but the ceremony stayed true to their personalities and lives, Martin said.

“If there was mention of God, it wouldn’t have been significant to us,” Martin said. “It’s a big deal to get married … It would’ve felt almost like a lie.”

I get a mention in there since August performed my wedding ceremony as well. It was lovely, traditional in all the ways we wanted, and I don’t even think the guests noticed that religion was left out of the festivities.

Reporter Danae King also brings up how Ohio, like some other states, requires a religious minister to officiate weddings. Getting ordained online in a few minutes carries more legal weight than going through a lengthy secular training to become a celebrant. That’s not right, and that law needs to change — hopefully, without the need for a lawsuit.

… the [Center for Inquiry] is hoping Sen. Michael Skindell will introduce [the bill] again and that it will pass, a long-shot in the Republican-dominated legislature. Skindell, a Democrat from the Cleveland area and the bill’s sponsor in the last session, said he’s considering it.

The legislation would make it legal for anyone who is registered with the Secretary of State’s Office to perform a marriage. Currently, celebrants must be ordained in a religion — even through an online church.

“You can go online, pay around $30 and they’ll send you a thing in the mail saying you’re an ordained minister,” Skindell said. “If you can do that, why do you have to go through these steps?”

Given the rise of Secular Americans, we’re bound to see a similar rise in non-traditional weddings. All the more reason to fix these laws now. There’s no need to put obstacles in the way of atheists getting married.

(Image via Shutterstock)


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