Marriage Celebrants Law to Be Topic at January Meeting

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At our January meeting, Minnesota Atheists will be revisiting the issue of Minnesota’s law on marriage celebrants, which August Berkshire discussed briefly at our September meeting and at length in the October issue of The Minnesota Atheist. Since then, we have met with Minnesota state senator John Marty and have requested further feedback from our community on this issue.

At the January meeting, August will report on our talk with Senator Marty, and Stephanie Zvan will present preliminary results from our feedback survey and discuss the various options for action presented under the survey. If you haven’t shared your opinions with us yet, please take a few minutes to complete our survey.

The idea of atheist and secular humanist weddings is still new to much of our community. However, there is precedent in Minnesota. A handful of atheists in Minnesota has obtained status as wedding celebrants through religious humanism or their former faiths and have performed ceremonies for Minnesota Atheists members past and present. We’ll hear from Shirley Moll and Steve Petersen and from Bjorn and Jeannette Watland, who were married in secular ceremonies by former minister Paul Heffron.

Dale Handeen will tell us about her experience officiating at atheist weddings and about what is involved in becoming a secular celebrant. Additionally, we’ll hear from Nicole Infinity, Stephanie Zvan, and others about what motivates their desire to become atheist wedding celebrants.

Our goal at the January meeting is to include as wide a variety of viewpoints as possible on atheist celebrants. If you’d like a chance to share your viewpoint, contact Associate President Stephanie Zvan ( to get on the schedule. Or stick around and join us at Q. Cumbers restaurant after the meeting, where the conversation is sure to continue.

Also, nominations for the 2014 Board of Directors will be accepted at the January meeting.

Minnesota Atheists is a non-profit organization run by volunteers who are elected on an annual basis by the membership. The board consists of the president, associate president, chair, associate chair, secretary, treasurer, and three directors-at large. To qualify for the board, an at-large nominee must be a dues-paying member in good standing for at least six months prior to the date of election, and a nominee for any other position must be a dues-paying member in good standing for at least one year prior to the date of election.

Candidates must be nominated by another member in good standing at the January meeting. The nominee does not need to be present. Elections will occur at the February meeting. The 2014 Board of Directors will assume office on March 1st.

If you have any questions, please contact Heather at or any other board member.

The January Minnesota Atheists meeting will be held at the Southdale Public Library (7001 York Avenue South, Edina) on January 19th. The meeting will follow our usual schedule:

1:00-1:15 p.m. Informal Gathering Time
1:15-1:45 p.m. Business Meeting
1:45-2:00 p.m. Break
2:00-3:30 p.m. Program

You may attend any part of the meeting you wish. At 4:00 p.m. there will be an optional dinner at Q. Cumbers  (7465 France Avenue South, Edina).

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