Oregon Debates Legalizing Secular Weddings

The Oregon House of Representatives is considering a measure that would allow “secular celebrants” to officiate weddings. H.B. 3483 would add secular organizations to the list of entities authorized to certify wedding celebrants.

Currently, the privilege of performing marriages is restricted to members of the clergy, judges and other public officials. Non-theists who wish to solemnize marriages must become “ordained” via facetious online entities like the Universal Life Church and the Church of the Latter Day Dude.

H.B 3483 would amend the law to permit “secular organizations with methods and values that play the same role in members’ lives as the role that methods and values of religious congregations or organizations play in the lives of members of the religious congregations or organizations” to certify officiants.

If passed, the bill would make Oregon the latest state to recognize secular wedding celebrants. In Indiana, a federal judge ruled last year that the Center for Inquiry, a secular humanist group, must be allowed to certify celebrants.