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Create a non-religious license entitling civilians to perform marriages.

This petition had 110 supporters

     In regard to the solemnization of marriages in the State of Ohio, section 3101.08 of the Ohio Revised Code states: “An ordained or licensed minister of any religious society or congregation within this state who is licensed to solemnize marriages…”. It then goes onto list Judges and Mayors as having this legal authority as well.

     My concern comes from recent changes in the Federal recognition of marriage, and the failure of some local authorities to serve certain sections of our State’s population. In my county, Guernsey, while granting marriage licenses, no public servant with the authority to perform marriages is currently willing to do so: stating that their schedules are “too full”. While it is true they are not required to perform such ceremonies, it does leave an issue for those of us who wish to have no religious affiliation associated with either our union or the performance of marriage ceremonies. This is also a concern for those of us who have no religious affiliation who wish to, or have been invited to officiate the unions of friends and loved ones. 

     I ask that you draft legislation to create a recognized authority within the State of Ohio that allows for citizens to become licensed by the state to perform marriages without any religious affiliation whatsoever. This would be an authority akin to Notary Publics, but with the sole purpose to solemnize the union of two people.

     Granting civilians this legal authority only ordained by a religious authority comes uncomfortably close to a First Amendment violation. In this modern age, it is time we separate religion from these legally binding, Constitutionally protected unions.

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