Four years ago, the Center For Inquiry (CFI) sued the state of Indiana over its marriage laws. The state allowed people of faith to be married by their religious leaders, but non-religious people weren’t allowed to use a Secular Celebrant. CFI trains these “Secular Celebrants” to officiate at weddings and other big milestone ceremonies.
Atheists’ only options were to have a judge officiate or have someone certified by an online church. The Secular Celebrant could be present, but couldn’t officiate the ceremony.
In 2014, the CFI won their case, then they sought to fix the marriage laws in Illinois as well.
The suit was brought up by Gallen Broaddus, who is certified as a Secular Celebrant. He said he had many requests to officiate ceremonies in the state, but he was forced to say no to all of them.
He wrote this about having to file the lawsuit:
“I don’t have much more to say on this, but I do want to recognize publicly that both CFI and I have expended a great deal of effort to avoid filing this complaint. I’ve talked directly with two state senators and one state representative (two Republican and one Democrat) about fixing the inequity in the law, and every single one of them expressed their agreement on the issue. We were even able to move a bill through the state senate before the session ended and we ran out of time in the house.”
The CFI won their case this month, and the Illinois law was ruled unconstitutional. This ought to have been common sense. Someone can online and get “ordained” to perform weddings, but someone who has gotten training for this couldn’t do it? It’s absurd.