New Idaho Billboard Promotes Humanist Wedding Celebrants (and Those Who Want to Become One)

The American Humanist Association just launched a new billboard in Moscow, Idaho encouraging people to become non-religious wedding officiants through the (AHA-affiliated) Humanist Institute’s Continuum for Humanist Education:

The billboard reads “Join Your Friends in Holy Matrimony.”

The Humanist Society has certified celebrants for over 70 years and the billboard directs you to the URL which redirects you to the Society’s website.

“Everyone at The Humanist Institute is excited about offering this new course not only to current humanist celebrants, but to anyone who wants to learn about how to conduct a successful wedding ceremony,” said Humanist Institute Executive Director Kristin Wintermute. “This addition to the other courses offered by the Continuum of Humanist Education is the next step in our ongoing efforts to bring humanist education opportunities to the public.”

The multi-part non-religious wedding course covers areas that include the theoretical understanding of weddings, the role of the celebrant, wedding preparation, what goes into creating vows, different elements of a wedding ceremony, and more.

I had a trained celebrant officiate my wedding. He was fantastic. No one even noticed (or mentioned, anyway) that God was missing throughout the ceremony.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • invivoMark

    Ah, Moscow. A weird mix of farming town and college town, and probably one of the few places in Idaho where this billboard would stand a chance at not being vandalized.

    Ironic, perhaps, as Moscow is the home of the U of I Vandals. :-)

  • Sven2547

    Cool message, but I’m kinda mixed on the billboard design. It seems to reinforce the notion that same-sex marriages are “unholy”, which is a major obstacle in getting people to recognize marriage equality.

  • pete084

    I recently attended a funeral service conducted by a Humanist officiant, she did a great job, very dignified and with a touch of humour that would have pleased my departed friend. The ceremony was in the secular setting of the local authority crematorium, the hearse was somewhat out of the ordinary too!

  • C Peterson

    I don’t get that sense from it, but I do think it would be more effective with a different-sex couple in the image. As it is, the primary message (which I take to be you don’t need religion to have a marriage) is probably lost or diluted for many people.

  • eric

    Don’t know how many billboards they can afford, but as a PR campaign, probably the most effective strategy is to have multiple billboard with all sorts of different couples on them. Gay, straight, old, young, different races, mixed races, etc.

  • invivoMark

    *Shrug* You will have a hard time convincing me to be bothered by that. For one thing, people who are upset about same-sex marriage are people at whom the billboard is most definitely not aimed.

    It also makes a lot of sense to depict a gay couple in a billboard in Moscow, specifically, because Moscow is a five minute drive away from Washington, where gay marriage just became legal in 2012. You can bet that a lot of this billboard’s potential clients are people who are looking to hop the border for a marriage, so depicting a gay couple is a very smart move on the part of the advertisers.

    Over time, the images of gay marriages will become rapidly normalized
    in America’s consciousness, and will become less offensive for a larger
    number of people. If this billboard went up 10 years from now, no one
    would bat an eye.

  • C Peterson

    I agree.

  • chicago dyke, TOWAN

    Richard Cohen’s gag reflex just went haywire.

  • closetatheist

    For 75 bucks I get training to take part in the happiest days of peoples lives, many of whom are godless like me, or may have struggled for the right to be married, and maybe get some free food and booze? I’m pretty sure I’m doing this.

  • Ben Porter

    I think this somewhat turns away people who are not godless, but because of genders issues cannot marry in the church. other then that love it.

  • ZenDruid

    Does anyone need a celebrant for a nudist wedding? I think there might be a niche there.

  • Rationalist1

    There are many niches at a nudist wedding, but let’s not go there. :->

  • ZenDruid

    Clefts and sulci, to be sure….