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Humanists Stand Ready to Perform Same-Sex Marriage Ceremonies

For Immediate Release

(Washington, DC, March 3, 2010) The Humanist Society, an adjunct of the American Humanist Association (AHA), announced today that its celebrants are ready and able to perform nontheistic marriage ceremonies for the Washington, DC LGBT community. Same-sex marriage became legal in the District of Columbia today following an act by the DC Council, a mayoral affirmation and a necessary Congressional waiting period.

The Humanist Society has taken out a series of advertisements in Washington DC’s most prominent LGBT magazine, MetroWeekly. The advertisements announce that the Society has licensed and experienced Humanist Celebrants standing by to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies for couples who want their weddings to be non-religious.

“We are pleased to be among those leading the charge for this overdue change,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the AHA. “We are pleased that Washington, DC is on the forefront of a civil rights movement that will hopefully extend the basic right of marriage to everyone, in every state and municipality in the United States.”

The Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act 2009 was sponsored by DC Council Member David Catania and passed 11-2 on December 15, 2009. It was signed by Mayor Adrian Fenty on December 18, 2009. Under DC law, Congress has 30 legislative days to review any acts of the Council, and Congress did not exercise this right. The bill cleared its final hurdle when U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts refused to sign an emergency-stay order requested by gay-marriage opponents.

"This is a historic moment, and a shining victory for human rights," said AHA LGBT Council Coordinator and Humanist Celebrant Jason Frye. Frye, a Californian who is not legally entitled to marry his partner, continued by adding that, “Our work is not done until every American, myself included, enjoys the same rights as those won in the District of Columbia. Jim Crowe-style marriage needs to go where it belongs: in the dustbin of history.”

Washington began issuing marriage applications to same-sex couples on the morning of March 3, and will begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses starting March 9. Though a new marriage license is $35, couples already in a domestic partnership can upgrade to a full marriage license for a $10 fee.

The Humanist Society (www.humanist-society.org) applies Humanism to daily life through a unique celebrant program, education and community involvement. Humanist Celebrants conduct Humanist, non-religious and interreligious weddings, memorials, baby naming and other life-cycle ceremonies.

The American Humanist Association (www.americanhumanist.org) advocates for the rights and viewpoints of humanists. Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., its work is extended through more than 100 local chapters and affiliates across America.

Humanism is the idea that you can be good without a belief in God.

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