“If you don’t intend to have kids, don’t get married.” What?

We just returned from a two-and-a-half-week sojourn to New Zealand, where we were able to put non-South Pacific news out of our minds. Those Kiwis are the friendliest people we’ve ever met. Nevertheless, we had plenty to think about when we learned how this beautiful country–the last to be discovered by humans–managed to get its fauna screwed up, starting with the arrival of humans on its shores. For the animals on the land of the Kiwis it became a sad tale. That story, however, is for another day.

But no sooner had we arrived home and flicked on the TV than we were immersed in the controversy over the constitutionality of a ban on same-sex marriage (evidently the so-called budget sequestration issue had been resolved in our absence, as evidenced by the fact that in the five days since we returned, we have not seen or read a single story about it). Stand where you may on the gay rights issue, but one argument enrages us and should likewise raise the hackles (wherever they may be on humans) of anyone who does not or cannot have children.

There are those who argue that the purpose of marriage is procreation. In Wednesday’s Supreme Court hearing on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), as well as in Tuesday’s hearing on California’s Proposition 8, the procreation argument came up.

If procreation is the sole purpose of marriage, it raises the following questions:

Should women over age 50 be permitted to marry?

Should infertile couples be allowed to marry?

Should couples who intend to use donated eggs or sperm be allowed to marry, since the donated gamete will not belong one of the prospective parents?

And the greatest stick-in-the-craw question of all: Should ordinary heterosexual couples who have absolutely no intention whatsoever of having kids—like the two of us—be authorized to tie the knot?

And here’s one for “dessert.” If two women want to marry with the intent of having one of them having in vitro fertilization, does that put them above a heterosexual couple who merely want to adopt? … and the beat goes on.

While half of American women who give birth under age 30 do so without being married, the marriage/procreation connection becomes even more tenuous. As for those who argue that marriage for the sake of procreation is the only way to go, we hope that fewer of those folks marry, ideally because it dawns on them that there are already Enough of Us.

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  1. Wedding bellsTradition has generally deicattd that people get married in a church, by a representative of said church, in some form of religious ceremony. Recently, however, civil ceremonies have started to become more and more popular for those who would like to be married, but skip all the religious trappings a church wedding generally entails. Depending on state laws, this usually involves a justice of the peace, i.e., a judge or other person certified to perform a ceremony.Of course, a lot of folks getting married don’t want some random judge marrying them either so what to do if you want one of your friends to do it?OptionsEssentially, you have three choices:Become a judge. Since this (often) requires years of law school, work, and sometimes an election, this isn’t really a valid option unless your friend is already a judge or justice of the peace.Become a notary public. This seems like an easy one, since in many states all you need to do to become a notary is fill out a form and pay a fee. However, unless you’re planning to get married in , , or ) the three states that allow notaries to marry people you’re out of luck.Become a minister. Normally, this would bring up similar problems to the judge option years of study in the church and so forth. However, thanks to the internet, solver of problems large and small, this actually might turn out to be your best option.Drive-thru ordainmentWell, okay. It’s not that easy. It’s easier.There are several non-denominational churches and ministries that allow you to become ordained as a minister online. In the case of the , it’s free, takes about 60-90 seconds, depending on how fast you type, and just requires some basic information your name, address, and email address.I’m serious. I conducted my own original research, after a friend asked:They aren’t the only one out there. , and are just a few of several online ministries that allow people to become legally ordained ministers.The catchThere’s always something.While becoming a minister through groups like these is free, you will generally have to pay them to receive official documentation of your minister status necessary if you wish to perform marriage ceremonies, as most states require you to be registered as a wedding officiant and will require proof of your ability to do so. However, the fees are fairly reasonable, and a small price to pay for being able to marry your friends.Another downside is getting your particular state to recognize you as a legal minister. While some are pretty easy going about this sort of thing, others may require a letter of good standing from your church sometimes on a yearly basis. Again, the online ministries will provide this for a fee.Yet another pitfall to be aware of is that some counties and states are beginning to declare weddings performed by online ministers Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia, and North Carolina among them. Along these lines, Alabama, Connecticut, Tennessee and Virginia performed by ministers who do not have active ministries, though generally the marriage will be accepted unless someone calls it into question.Laws regarding who may perform a marriage vary wildly by state, and sometimes even within states and have two different sets of requirements. It’s not really possible for me to cover all 50 states’ marriage laws, so your best bet is to do your research find a copy of your state’s marriage law, read it, and completely understand what you have to do to be able to legally marry someone.I now pronounce this question answeredWhat really seems like a simple question does turn out to be rather complicated, since individual states are allowed to say who can legally marry people within their borders. However, apart from having a friend who is a judge or a minister of a traditional church, in most cases online ordination offers the best opportunity for allowing you to be married by a friend as opposed to whomever drew the short straw at the courthouse that day.GD Star Ratingloading…

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