While everyone else is paying attention to the bridge scandal in New Jersey that has Gov. Chris Christie scrambling for cover, the state legislature is likely to pass a law allowing secular celebrants to solemnize marriages. The state senate voted overwhelmingly in favor of the bill:
But, under a bill scheduled for a vote in the state Senate today, you wouldn’t need to even pretend to be religious.
“It gives another group of people the right to perform marriages,” said state Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen), a sponsor.
Under New Jersey law, ministers of all religions along with judges, magistrates, mayors, deputy mayors, council members and various other public officials can perform marriages.The bill would add another category: People certified by the secretary of state who have taken a weekly “civil celebrant course” from a non-denominational or educational non-profit organization for six months and paid a $50 to $75 fee.
The lower house passed a similar but not identical bill in 2012 and will now have to approve the amended one. I would certainly hope Christie would sign it once passed.