Appeals Court Hears Indy Atheist Group's Demand to Perform Marriages

Apr 19, 2013 Full story: www.wibc.com

A federal appeals court has taken up an Indianapolis atheist group's suit seeking the right to preside over wedding ceremonies.

The Center for Inquiry argues its secular-humanist belief system is the "functional equivalent" of a religion, and that its members should therefore be allowed to sign marriage certificates. U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker rejected CFI's argument in December, ruling that the group is seeking to be classified as a religion only when it suits its purposes. Full Story

“you must not give faith”

Since: Jul 12

Nottingham, UK

#1 Apr 20, 2013
This isn't an issue on who can perform a marriage but who can can sign the marriage certificates. I'm not yet sure if this is a battle we should fight but this will be interesting...
EdSed

Hamilton, UK

#2 Apr 20, 2013
True.
Quote, "The legal question centers on who can sign the marriage certificate and "solemnize" the marriage. Past court cases have allowed secular humanist groups to claim religious status and fill that role -- CFI's executive director did so under the auspices of The Humanist Society before joining the center" Unquote.
Solemnize and legal are unconnected. The last thing any humanist group wants is a 'religious status', but that is necessary sometimes because of the language used, historially, to write laws.

The quote above suggests to me that part of the problem seems to lie in the way superstitious thinking has infected the language. It needs to be expunged from modern usage, e.g.
Christian name – first name
Belief system – that is simply a flawed and outdated concept
Solemnized - has nothing to do with legalized

Another two examples:
(1) the HSS (Humanist Association Scotland), which has to be described as a ‘set of beliefs’ or some equally meaningless term as lawyers advise that over 300 Scottish laws would have to be re-worded to accommodate such secular organisations.
(2) The IHEU (International Humanist and Ethical Union) has had to accept a similarly misleading definition in order to be accepted into meetings inclusive of religious faith groups when moral and ethical issues are discussed and even to accommodate some international legislation.

These erroneous definitions and description might be seen to imply that everyone has a set of strong beliefs held purely as a matter of faith; and they unwittingly neglect the fact that one should only believe anything as far as the belief can be justified by reason and evidence.

“It's just a box of rain...”

Since: May 07

Knoxville, TN

#3 Apr 20, 2013
The legal principle is similar to the one that necessitated the court decision that called atheism a religion for the purpose of organizing activities in prisons that clueless theists delight in trumpeting on this forum from time to time. Atheism isn't a religion, but atheists are a category in the demographics of religion. As such, we should receive the same protections that other ones do, necessitating the legal fiction in that decision. And, as is the case in many legal issues, it really doesn't matter whether this is a battle worth fighting for atheists in general. It matters to the litigants, and that's enough to make the case worth pursuing.

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