House Passes Secular Celebrant Bill in Oregon

House Passes Secular Celebrant Bill in Oregon May 21, 2015

The bill to allow secular celebrants to officiate at weddings in Oregon has advanced another important step. The House of Representatives passed HB 3483 by a 35-23 margin, sending it on to the state Senate for their consideration. CFI is very pleased, as they should be:

Today the Oregon House of Representatives passed a bill that would allow nonreligious Oregonians to have their marriages solemnized by a certified Secular Celebrant. The measure, championed by the secular humanist Center for Inquiry (CFI), passed with 35 votes.

Introduced by Rep. Mitch Greenlick and supported by the Center for Inquiry, House Bill 3483 would add organizations “whose members subscribe to secular values, beliefs and practices” to the list of those currently authorized to officially solemnize marriages in the state. This would mean that nonreligious Oregonians, or anyone who does not wish to have their marriage officiated by clergy or a government functionary, will have the option of being married by a Secular Celebrant, such as those trained and certified by CFI.

“This is a real victory for Oregonians of all persuasions—whether religious or nonreligious—who believe in equal treatment under the law,” said Brian Harvey, executive director of CFI-Portland, a branch of the Center for Inquiry. “The people of Oregon who are living fulfilling, ethical lives without religion deserve the same rights as those who are religious. This includes the right to have their marriages solemnized by someone who shares their life stance. No one would deny a religious couple’s right to be married by a representative of their worldview, and we who hold dear the principles of science and reason ask for nothing more and nothing less.”

Added Harvey, “We trust that the Senate and governor will show the same wisdom exemplified today by these 35 legislators in the House, and make this bill the law of the land.”

If the Senate passes it, the governor is likely to sign it. We’re working on getting a similar bill here in Michigan, but we aren’t nearly so far along in the process.

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