Sunday, August 23, 2009

Let's get into the marriage-making business

Let's get into the marriage business...
... and let's make civil wedding ceremonies so popular that they diminish the importance of religious wedding ceremonies in the doing.

Here's an interesting synopses of who can conduct weddings under the marriage laws, state by state, in the US: List

You'll note as you scroll down the page that nearly all states specifically recognize religious leaders, the clergy, as individuals qualified to perform wedding ceremonies. (They even get first mention by most states.) Contrast that with the number of states which offer similar accommodation to non-religious group leaders. Hmm.... Not so promising, is it?

I'm wondering just how "impossible" it might be in some states to apply for and be granted the right to conduct legal marriage... as a non-religious leader. And, I'm not talking about becoming a Judge or a Justice of the Peace. Those are roads with all sorts of political pitfalls including strict limitation of positions available and required elections. (Not quite what I'd call a level playing field compared to the accommodations made for church officials.)

Organized freethinking groups, atheist groups, skeptic societies and the like are becoming more and more commonplace in our towns and cities. Why are we not competing with religious groups and performing our own wedding ceremonies? Why are we not in the marriage business just as commonly as church groups are?

The answer seems to be written into the state laws - bias state laws - and we ought to be doing something about that.

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