Can an Atheist officiate a marriage in the state of Oregon?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can an Atheist officiate a marriage in the state of Oregon?

Can an Atheist gain the ability to officiate a marriage in the state of Oregon,
without having to be a judge or county clerk? If so, where do I start? Thank you.

Asked on January 25, 2019 under Family Law, Oregon


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The only way a non-judge/clerk athiest could solemnize marriage is if he or she is an official of a secular organization that "occupies a place in the lives of the organizations members parallel to that filled by a church or particular religious authority," such as the Center for Inquiry, which is a non-religious organization which nonetheless addresses what could be called "spiritual" or philosophical matters and so occupies a religion-like place in people's lives, at least to a degree or extent. CFI has some information about being licensed as a non-religious officiant; here is a link to them:

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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