Humanists Applaud DC Bill Allowing Secular Wedding Officiants
For Immediate Release
Contact: Brian Magee, email@example.com, 202-238-9088 ext. 105
(Washington, DC, Feb 8, 2013)—Humanists and other nontheists are enthusiastic about a proposal by Washington D.C. City Councilmember Tommy Wells to allow anyone to perform a wedding ceremony in the nation’s capital.
The bill under consideration will create a single-use “temporary officiant” designation for anyone to perform the marriage of a specific couple. Under current DC law, only religious authorities and court officers can perform marriages, with applications by those with a religious affiliation not always approved. The proposal by Wells for a temporary permit tied to a specific wedding would have no such requirements.
“Couples should have the freedom to choose an officiant, and she or he should not need a religious affiliation to solemnize a marriage,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “With the religiously unaffiliated nearing 20 percent of the general population, more and more people will be seeking the services of secular officiants and non-religious ceremonies.”
The Humanist Society, an adjunct of the American Humanist Association, trains and equips officiants to perform humanist, nonreligious, and interreligious weddings and other lifecycle ceremonies.
Speckhardt continued, “I hope elected officials in other states will take notice and introduce similar legislation that gives all marrying couples the freedom to choose.”
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The American Humanist Association (www.americanhumanist.org) advocates for the rights and viewpoints of humanists. Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., its work is extended through more than 160 local chapters and affiliates across America.
Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism, affirms our responsibility to lead ethical lives of value to self and humanity.