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Marriage license

I would like to be able to marry people. I don’t mean I want to become a polygamist. I want to perform wedding ceremonies. In fact, I want to be able to perform all sorts of life ceremonies for people.

The problem is that I’m not a minister of any church in any official fashion. Sure, we are all ministers, but apparently that is just lip service. As far as the law is concerned, being a member of the Body of Christ isn’t good enough – you actually have to be ordained to marry people.

Now, I want to perform life ceremonies for people who don’t go to church. There are plenty of people who need ceremonies who aren’t members of church. The church has turned off and turned away people. The church has become irrelevant to many people’s lives. It has become hypocritical and hyper judgmental. People don’t feel welcome in church.

But they still need ceremonies.

We humans need ceremonies. We need to mark transitions from Then to Now. We need to indicate that something is different. Ceremony and ritual is part of what makes us human. We need closure. We use ceremonies to mark time and growth.

Ceremonies and rituals are like doors. We walk through them, and then we are different. It isn’t the door that makes us different, it is the act of walking, intentionally, through that door. It keeps us mindful and aware.

I simply don’t understand why the person performing the ceremony has to be credentialed. It isn’t like she or he is doing something complicated. A few words, said meaningfully, is all. There is no magic trick. There is no surgery, actually binding people together. It seems that it would make more sense to look at the intent of the people getting married more than the person doing the ceremony. Look how many divorces take place all the time these days, and they were married by credentialed people. So that isn’t working. It isn’t the people performing the ceremony that makes the difference.

Now, you don’t have to be a minister to perform a marriage ceremony. You can be a judge, or a captain of a ship for instance. There are plenty of non-religious people who can marry two people together – but I don’t fit any of those categories.

I wonder if there would be simply something to just going to the county clerk’s office to register (yes, you have to register) to be able to marry people. I don’t think there is any proof that you have to provide to be able to do this. I don’t plan on taking money for it – but I do want it to be legal. There are certain mail-order ministries that aren’t accepted as valid proofs of being a minister.

But again, we are all ministers. I would think that the simple fact that I want to be able to do this, to help out my friends who want to get married or have other ceremonies but don’t go to church, would count. That is a ministry.

I tutor ESL kindergartners. That is a ministry too. But I didn’t get tested or have to be certified. Sure, there was a criminal background check, but nobody asked for proof that I actually had a degree in English or had tutored before. That seems far more relevant.

But two people who want to get married? That is all them. They are doing the hard stuff. The words said on the wedding day don’t make you married. It is everything you do after that.

One thought on “Marriage license

  1. Talk to Himself. He is ordained through one of the websites & he has performed marriage ceremonies that are legally recognized. He’ll be the officiant at a marriage coming up in the next couple of weeks. He can tell you which website he went through and anything else he needed to do.

    Because neither Himself nor I were part of a church, it was really difficult for us to marry. We joked that it would have been easier for us to get divorced than it was for us to get married. Because the only elected official we knew (well, that HE knew, I didn’t know any) was a JP who was nicknamed “Creepy”, and I put my foot down about getting married by a guy named “Creepy”.

    We finally had a friend out in California make us an appointment with a judge he knew from his days in Nashville, so we could get married.

    And it was nice and all, and we had a few family & friends in attendance, and we had a big ceremony 2 days later with all of our friends & family, & no stress because the legal part was done, but actually trying to schedule the legal part was as complicated as arranging for the big wedding & reception stuff.

    Most elected officials don’t want to spend their weekends and/or evenings going places to perform weddings. And many many people don’t want to have their weddings in a civil servant’s office, performed by strangers. They want someone meaningful in their lives to lead them through their vows.

    We had two wonderful weddings. We liked the judge and we’re casual enough folks that as long as we were married to each other, that was the most important thing. But still, I wish Michael (who was our officiant at our “not legal but formal” wedding) could have been recognized as a legal officiant.

    Realistically, if the legal requirements are for the spouses to sign a legal document with a witness in front of some random official (you don’t actually HAVE to have a ceremony), someone who’s never met the spouse, provides no guidance or mentoring or training, has no specific training, all they really need to do is sign a piece of paper after watching you sign it … then why is it necessary to have any kind of requirements at all for wedding officiants?

    It would be very nice for people outside of churches to have the same ease in finding officiants who are meaningful to them, as it is for people in church.

    Go you!


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