In a sad decision against religious equality, the Indiana federal court court ruled that it is a necessary part of religious freedom for churches and religious organizations to have rights in marriage that are denied to the non-religious.
“According to the court, what is a required accommodation for the religious, is just a matter of convenience for the nonreligious. It would be difficult to imagine a clearer way to classify nonbelievers as second-class citizens,” said Ronald A. Lindsay, president and CEO of CFI. “A wedding is one of the most important ceremonies in a person’s life, and it is just as meaningful to atheists as it is to theists. It’s disappointing that a 21st-century court refused to recognize this reality.”
If marriage were merely a religious affair, it would not come with legally binding rights and responsibilities. And clearly if it were a religious thing only, then atheists would have no more interest in getting married than they would have in going to church. For any country with freedom of religion to favor believers in the supernatural legally in this way is shameful. Why should secular citizens have to get a generic bureaucrat to sign papers to make their marriage legal when the religious get to have the leader of their community offer both a meaningful AND legally binding service in one step?
The full CFI press release, and the text of the court decision, may be found at Court Denies Atheists Right to Choose How to Get Married