In MN county, you can now be married by an atheist

Somewhat quietly, Washington County has acknowledged that you don’t have to believe in God to marry two people.

Last September, Rodney Rogers, 71, of Woodbury, was rejected when he tried to register with the county to perform civil marriage ceremonies.

The county wouldn’t let any atheist perform a ceremony because of a state law giving judges or court administrators the authority, and also “a licensed or ordained minister of any religious denomination.” Nothing there about atheists.

The Star Tribune, however, reported that the county had granted the authority to people who registered, saying they’d been ordained by “The Church of the Latter Day Dude” in one case, and the “Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster” in another.

Atheists sued the county and when a federal judge tossed it out this week, it was in recognition that the county has seen the light, according to the Star Tribune.

The county attorney found other counties were ignoring the strict interpretation of the state statute and allowing atheists to conduct a marriage ceremony.

An attorney for the atheists said he was disappointed that the judge — U.S. District Court Judge Joan Ericksen — declined to rule on the constitutionality of the state statute.