Court Upholds Indiana’s Ban on Secular Wedding Officiants

A lawsuit filed by the Indiana chapter of the Center for Inquiry argues that Indiana’s law requiring marriages to be solemnized only by clergy, judges, mayors or local government clerks is a violation of the Constitution. Religion News Service now reports that a federal court has rejected this lawsuit, agreeing with the current law that only clergy or public officials may solemnize marriages.

Judge Sarah Evans Barker of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana ruled on Friday (Nov. 30) that marriage has religious roots. Therefore, government regulation of marriage is an act of religious accommodation — not endorsement — and protected by the Constitution.

She also noted that Indiana’s law does not limit who may marry the plaintiffs, but only who may sign their license.

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