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Another Kind Of Marriage Equality

For years, Americans have been working to establish equal marriage rights for heterosexual and homosexual couples. Another kind of marriage equality battle is being fought in Washington County, Minnesota, home of the cities of Stillwater and Woodbury. Washington County officials have prohibited atheists with humanist ordinations from performing marriage ceremonies. The county cites a state law which states that religious leaders are the only people who can perform a marriage ceremony outside of a court of law.

Atheists For Human Rights is challenging the discrimination by Washington County, and the state law that has been used to justify it, so that atheist couples who want to get married aren’t forced to run into court for a wedding.

Equality – it’s for everybody, or it isn’t equality.

So, do you think we can expect LGBT activists to support Atheists for Human Rights in this care?

6 thoughts on “Another Kind Of Marriage Equality”

  1. Jo says:

    Slaps forehead in true and utter disbelief.

  2. Bruce Nappi says:


    My approach to addressing all the inconsistencies around marriage would be to just get the government out of it altogether. That is, marriage, from ancient times, has been a “social” arrangement, condoned by social institutions. So, ban the word “marriage” from government. If a religion, any of them, want to use the word for one of their rituals or social units, let them do whatever they want. If atheists, or humanists, bowling clubs, skydiving clubs, polyamory groups, or whatever, want to create marriage units, that’s their personal organizational choice. Where the government would enter the picture related to this is two-fold:

    Number 1, the people involved in the “marriage unit” can ask for government involvement by filing a CONTRACT with the government. The contract essentially says, ‘we the undersigned agree to the terms of the contract, and request that the government help us enforce them.’ This sounds simple at first, but forces everyone involved to do a lot more thinking about what these contracts would involve. Would they require equal division of finances, for example? Is one person required to obey another? Is any such clause of obedience, for example, in violation of the SLAVERY provisions of the constitution?

    Number 2, and this is much more important in my view, if the contracting unit ( the marriage ) intends to have children, they need to apply for a PROCREATION LICENSE, if they plan a biological birth, and/or a CHILD REARING license, if they plan to raise the children. No license, no kids! While some people will knee-jerk at this as seeming extreme, or unprecedented, we actually already have many precedents. Marriage licenses used to address the same issues. Society just threw the old values to the wind as modern society got caught in the cultural tornado. We require people to have a license to drive a car. Aren’t children as important a responsibility as a car? No matter what people think about this now, when the food runs out and population crashes start, this will seem as obvious as a building permit.

    1. J Clifford says:

      Bruce, why should a couple need the approval of a private social club in order to get married?

      1. Bruce Nappi says:

        Follow this logic. Two people are stranded on a tropical island. One says to the other, “so, should we get married?” What would be the point of marriage in that situation? What would it even mean?

        As I said in my comment, marriage, from ancient times, has been a “social” arrangement. What you called “a private social club”, in my comment, was any social group. Marriage, for any group, comes from the common goal to create a special smaller grouping of people that have stronger bonds to each other than they have to the larger group. This could be a couple (2 people), which western society associates with marriage, or it could be an African tribal family which has a chief, 100 wives, and all their children. It could also be a whole division of a religion. In the Catholic Church, to become a nun, a woman is joined to Christ through “marriage” in a traditional marriage ceremony. While I didn’t use the term “approval”, I do think it is appropriate here. The purpose for the marriage unit to “ask” for approval from their community ( i.e. larger social group) is to gain the community’s “recognition” of their “special” smaller group. Without community recognition, a “marriage” would beg the tropical island question.

        1. J Clifford says:

          Bruce, there can be meaning between two people, as well as meaning at the social level. If I were single, and met the right woman while trapped on an island, I would want to get married, because it’s a link between two people. The marriage I have right now is not about satisfying any social club I belong to.

          1. Bruce Nappi says:

            J, my point is, if you and another women were on an island, why “marriage”? Why wouldn’t you just love her? Why are you “married” now? Why didn’t you just live your life with her? There are many couples who live together without going through a marriage ceremony. What did the ceremony mean to you?

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