Sunday, June 15, 2014

162.3 - Update: atheist/agnostic couple told they have no right to get married

Update: atheist/agnostic couple told they have no right to get married

Just a very brief update on something I mentioned recently about having freedom of, but not freedom from, religion. I keep not intending to discuss this topic, but things keep cropping up. Every time I try to get out, they just pull me back in.

On the other hand, it does relate to hassles with getting married. Tamar Courtney and Morgan Strong planned to get this married after six years together, and they’d hoped a friend would be able to officiate. But that friend had trouble obtaining his license, so the couple turned to officials of Franklin County, Virginia. A judge referred them to two court-appointed officiants.

The first official they called, Bud Roth, asked Courtney about their religious denomination. She said she is an agnostic and Strong is an atheist. Upon which, Roth flatly refused to marry them. He told her that the couple didn’t have the right to get married because they “didn’t know where God was.”

When he heard about this, Strong was so incredulous that he called Roth himself and recorded the call. When Strong asks why he won't marry them, Roth says, flat out, quoting, “Because she’s agnostic and you’re an atheist. I will not marry you. You don’t believe in God.”

The other officiant did agree to marry them, but the idea that a court-appointed official could impose a religious litmus test on the right to get married shows how far we are from actually having that church-state separation the right wing is forever whining about.

Sources cited in links:

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