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Indiana Citizens will soon no longer be limited to clerics or govt officials as marriage celebrants.

Discussion in 'Faith and Religion' started by chelloveck, Jul 23, 2014.

  1. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    Kudos to Judges Posner, Easterbrook and Williams of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeal for their decision in breaking the virtual monopoly that the religious clerics of some faiths have in solemnising marriages in Indiana. (certain appointed and elected government officials being the only allowable alternative).


    Secular Humanists, and members of some faiths presently denied the opportunity to officiate at marriage ceremonies (faiths without Deities and/or without clergy) may soon be able to officiate at marriages in the US State of Indiana as celebrants.

    Via:Secular Celebrants May Solemnize Marriages in Indiana | American Civil Liberties Union

    Secular marriage celebrants are nothing new in Australia: My marriage was officiated by one of the earliest women to be appointed a civil marriage celebrant. Cleric officiated weddings have declined considerably in Australia since 1973, and marriages officiated by civil marriage celebrants have risen to the point that there are more marriages conducted by civil marriage celebrants than by clergy.


    Graph tracing the success of the civil marriage celebrant program in Australia from 1969 to 2004.Sometime in 1998 Civil weddings became more than 50% of all weddings performed in Australia.


    I liked a number of comments made by Circuit Court Judge Easterbrook in the Court's ruling. He is refreshingly frank.

    Chicago Daily Law Bulletin - Court flags wedding inequity
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 26, 2015
    tulianr likes this.
  2. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner Monkey

    So, now the cabin attendant on a train, my bell captain at the hotel, or the night clerk at the Motel 6 can perform a marriage! Woo Hoo!!
  3. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    "By the power vested in me as a dumpster diver --"
  4. nkawtg

    nkawtg Monkey

    [bow]Oh Great and Wise Dumpster Diver...
  5. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Do you need a warning buoy if you are only a "dumpster diver"?;)
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2014
  6. nkawtg

    nkawtg Monkey

    You only need brightly colored clothes


    I think we've strayed off topic enough...
    Witch Doctor 01, chelloveck and ghrit like this.
  7. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

  8. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    It would seem at this stage, that provided they are authorised to perform marriages by the State of Indiana, (The notion suggested that being a Notary Public is likely to be the minimum accreditation)....it will matter not whether a cabin attendant on a train, a bell captain of a hotel, a night clerk at Motel 6....or an indigent dumpster diver, is a man (or more rarely, a woman) of the cloth...or some godless heathen. Individuals will have the liberty to choose between the mummery and humbuggery performed by some cleric....or the kind of marriage a couple may decide to contract with a secular marriage celebrant. What is not to like about increasing a citizen's liberty not to be compelled to endure some bogus religious ceremony of a faith they do not hold to, or the perfunctory filling in of forms with no more ceremony than that taken when registering to vote, or paying the fine for some municipal infringement.

    For folks who supposedly place a high value on the free market...and letting market forces decide what products and services consumers are prepared to spend their FRNS on....I'm surprised that some are so negative about the breaking of the (virtual) clerical monopoly on officiating at marriages.;)

    In answer to the parade of horribles suggested in earlier posts ( Parade of horribles : Wikis (The Full Wiki) ), consider the kind of alternatives available to Australians wishing to get hitched without kirk or cleric.

    If these celebrants' day jobs include cabin attending, motel clerking, bell hopping, or dumpster diving....I don't think it detracts much from the quality of services that they provide. :p
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2014
    Byte and tulianr like this.
  9. Witch Doctor 01

    Witch Doctor 01 Mojo Maker

    I guess I'm kind of old fashioned... I always have been of the opinion that a Marriage was a religious affair, and should only be performed by recognized/licensed clergy... However a civil ceremony should be able to be a joining of anyone who does not want clerical assistance... I disagree with the governmental interpretation that a marriage is anything that joins two individuals in an association that grants them a particular tax status...

    I feel that any one who is so joined be it by a marriage or by a civil ceremony should have the same legal rights...

    it kinda let the air out of some sails but what the heck... YMMV
  10. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    (1) No disrespect to you and your beliefs WD...but the identification of the English word/term marriage as "being a religious a affair" is a common, but mistaken one.

    Marriage is a universal cultural institution in which one or more individuals are given formal or informal recognition that they have established a particular relationship with each other that entail certain rights and responsibilities to one another, their respective kin, and the broader society that they are part of. Religion often is an element in the process...but not necessarily so. Religion does not own the institution of marriage and it doesn't possess the copyright on the word marriage, though many clerics and creeds give the unwarranted impression that it does, by playing semantic games and special pleading. A marriage is a marriage whether performed by a cleric or an officer of the court or a dumpster diver lawfully authorised to officiate at a marriage ceremony. When I was married by a civil celebrant...I was given a marriage certificate and my marriage was registered in the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages as a marriage. I am still married...not civil unioned to my eventually to be divorced wife.

    There is a cultural bias in many Judeo-Christian dominated societies that marriage in a religious ceremony with a cleric of some description according to some religious rite rite or other, is somehow superior to an unchurched civil ceremony; and for understandable reasons...clerics and congregants are keen to reinforce that cultural bias. Fortunately, that bias is diminishing the more societies become secular rather than sectarian.

    (2) Society generally benefits considerably by supporting kinship relationships that contribute to the stability and durability of society. One way is to identify and recognise particular kinship relationships, such as those in enduring domestic relationships that involve mutual legal responsibilities and rights. Political, legal and legislative institutions don't define marriage in terms of an individual or a couple's particular tax status...they define a person's tax status by the kind of marital status that they possess. Different benefits and responsibilities may apply depending on whether the marriage is recognised formally by prevailing marriage laws and regulations...or whether the relationship is a common-law marriage.

    (3) Agreed. But more than just legal equality...marriages contracted through civil ceremonies ought not be considered as inferior to those contracted by religious ceremonies. My own inclination is that no ceremony, religious or civil ought have any legal standing. Have any ceremony you wish....and then have lawful marriages registered in the same way as dog licences or driving permits. ;)

    (4) The spinnakers are being prepared by the secular humanists, Budhists, Shintoists, Jains, animists, and some other religious minorities though! ;)
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2014
    tulianr likes this.
  11. DKR

    DKR Interesting ideas, interesting stories

    Strange, must be an Oz thing. In Alaska, anyone (over 21 Y/O) can receive a warrant to perform a marriage ceremony. I married a couple of friends, because they asked me to officiate.

    Marriage is about two people - and recognition by the community they live in.

    NO piece of paper, no magic ceremony or 'official' sanction will make a marriage work (or not). One need to only look at the stats for the US (I suspect it is a wider phenom) that people just don't bother with the ceremony anymore.
    chelloveck likes this.
  12. Witch Doctor 01

    Witch Doctor 01 Mojo Maker

    @chelloveck , as usual you make a good argument... I would disagree with you as to the non religious aspect of the term marriage. while there have been civil contracts such as jumping the broom, and common law marriages the current aspects of the non religious contracts seem to be based on the secular movement during the age of Enlightenment circa the seventeenth century... the whole Christianity split was sped along with Henry VIII's desire to divorce and remarry against the Catholic church hence formation of the Anglican church. The non religious aspects of marriage was developed to ensure the rights to lineal inheritance. This aspect is the basis current legal aspects of marriage. at the time there were two means of recognition initially the clergy were the only ones authorized to speak the vows of marriage. All couples who were "wed" were considered common law marriages and for individuals who had minimal property to pass on following their death. as to marriage ceremonies in other countries while they take many forms I am using the basic definations from the Anglo French and western European tradition on which our (US, English, Aussie, etc) societies were established on...

    The legal definition as mentioned above was developed in an era when the current cultural More's were more stringent. The use of civil ceremonies was not as prevalent until the 19th century. Witte Jr., John (1997). From Sacrament to Contract: Marriage, Religion, and Law in the Western Tradition. Westminster John Knox Press.

    as to your remaining arguments; 2 and 3 I agree... # 4 I have no means of agreeing or disagreeing with as I have no sound on my system.. and can't listen to them....
  13. D2wing

    D2wing Monkey

    In most US states, marriage is not required to be done by clergy. You buy a license so the state knows you are married and have a ceremony of your choosing. The officiate signs the license. In some states you only need to declare you are married. In some states laws reflect the founding of the state. Most eastern states were founded as religious Christian colonies by those seeking religious freedom. The laws are changing to reflect the secular bent of legal activist's to drive Christianity from government. Some form of marriage is present in all societies. It is a common human trait. It is patterned by the book of Genesis even by those who do not know of the Bible.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2015
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