Sunday, January 27, 2013

When Libertarians officiate at a wedding

The Tarrant County Libertarian Party Vice-Chair, Michael Coyne, recently asked me to officiate at his wedding. 
If this is your first visit to this site, I'm the Chair of the Tarrant County (Fort Worth) Libertarian Party.

(Yeah, I'm ordained.  I can also lead the singing at revivals, navigate duck hunts, train Labrador Retrievers, broker freight, do Tarot readings, and do about three card tricks.) 
Michael is a lapsed Catholic.  His lovely bride, Shayna, was raised Jew(-ish), meaning "not really".  They wanted a 100% secular ceremony.  An Anglican priest friend of Mike's had agreed to tie this particular wedding knot, but backed out, perhaps because of the secular nature of the ceremony that Mike and Shayna wanted. 

So I borrowed some ministerial vestments from my friend Dan Freemyer, the guy who feeds the homeless and helps the poor at Broadway Baptist Church. 

When you ask the Tarrant County Libertarian Chair to take on a ministerial/rabbinical/priestly role at your wedding, this is what you're gonna get: 
We are gathered here today to celebrate one of life’s greatest moments, to give recognition to the worth and beauty of love, and to hear the words which shall unite Michael and Shayna in marriage.

A few days ago, Michael and Shayna filled out a marriage “license”, issued by the state of Texas. In the eyes of the state, they are already married, and now have the right to sue each other.

That piece of bureaucratic paperwork has absolutely nothing to do with the sacred event that you will witness and participate in today.   The state of Texas is not ensuring the legitimacy and worth of this union. You are. Michael and Shayna have invited you, their families, friends and co-workers to join with them in their vows to remain faithful, loving and committed to each other.
The wedding party already knew what I was going to say in this Welcome/Greeting, and had signed off on it.  The families, friends, and co-workers liked it and laughed in the right places. 

Mike and Shayna are now married - just as married as if Billy Graham, Pope Benedict, Rabbi Ralph Mecklenburger, a ship's captain, a Justice Of The Peace, or a Supreme Court Justice had officiated at the wedding. 
Texas has given them a contract that says they can sue each other. 
Their friends, families, co-workers (and The Tarrant County Libertarian Party) watched these two wonderful people enter into a contract to love each other, care for each other, and provide for each other for the rest of their lives.  I think that's the one that matters.   

Email me if you want to get married.  I work cheap.  @Whited79


John R said...

My wife and I were married during a pot luck dinner at the Arlington Yacht Club. We paid for the franks, burgers, and two margarita machines. About half way through dinner, when everyone was already a bit tipsy, our JP friend stood up and married us.

One of the best nights of my life.

Nathan said...


Stephen M. Smith said...

Congratulations to Mike and Shayna!

Anonymous said...

One slight error - a ship's captain does CANNOT marry people (other than their own spouse, of course, but that is usually in front of a registrar or vicar). It is a rather persistent urban myth, perpetuated by Hollywood and Happy Days, I suppose.

Radical Rodent

p.s. They can perform funerals, and are the only non-medical people lawfully allowed to pronounce death and to sign a death certificate.