I haven’t posted much to this celebrant blog in a considerable amount of time, mostly because I’ve been quite busy. You see, since July, I’ve been involved in a federal lawsuit challenging an aspect of Illinois marriage law that has hindered my ability to fulfill all of my duties as a secular celebrant quite significantly.
At 11:10 am CST, U.S. District Judge Colin S. Bruce approved a settlement between the plaintiffs, myself and the Center for Inquiry, and the defendant, Stephen Bean (County Clerk of Macon County), which declared Section 209 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act unconstitutional and prevents secular celebrants from being excluded from this statute. That means that a full two years of lobbying and eventually this legal fight have now come to a close. The order takes immediate effect. (More details and a whole lot of thank-you’s can be found in the CFI press release and at my Patheos blog.)
More than anything, I am relieved that this fight is over. It’s not over for CFI — a majority of states in the US still prevent secular celebrants from solemnizing marriages — and ultimately I still have work to do helping to support other Illinoisans who wish to become secular celebrants as well. But I am going to take some time to enjoy this victory, which has been filled with small triumphs (like getting legislation through the Illinois state senate) and a lot of frustration. Activism, as you might guess, can take a lot out of you, even when it’s being done with a capable team, as was the case here.
I will be updating my FAQs soon — and happily so! — to reflect these changes. It’s my hope that 2017 will bring out more celebrations not just of love but of life in all its facets.
Thanks for reading.
Image via Pexels
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