Wedding season has just begun. Rob and I have two invitations to June weddings, with more to follow. This got me thinking about people I know who have used friends to officiate their civil weddings. Their friends just went online, filled out a form, paid the nominal fee (about $30.00) and badda bing, badda boom, they are legally allowed to officiate weddings.

I think that would be a cool thing to do. I wouldn’t mind marrying couples, especially people who are already living together and have created children. In my state I can get registered online as a Wedding Officiate (where my only ability is to marry people, no other ceremonies) for $32 for two years worth of credentials. What a deal and I could marry a heck of a lot of people in two years!

I am a big fan of marriage. Rob and I have been married over twenty-five years and it has been great for us. I am proud to report I have personally cajoled, reasoned with and nagged three couples into doing the right thing- quit shacking up and get married. All three couples had children together and intended to stay together, so it was really silly to not be married.

Since it doesn’t require any special education, religious affiliation, or governmental institution, I don’t see a problem with a Mormon non-Bishop marrying people who are seeking a civil wedding. I will go a step further and say I don’t have a problem with a female member (like me) of the church officiating weddings, either. Radical, huh? I know – Rob was surprised too.

It is a new thought for me.

Here is my reasoning:

We aren’t talking temple marriages here, just civil. There is no religious significance to civil marriage. Getting hitched at the courthouse by a judge or in Vegas by an Elvis has nothing to do with anything other than making a legal instrument.

I can’t see where Heavenly Father would have a problem with a female Mormon marrying whoever wants to get married. Especially since there are female judges who marry people every day and I have to assume that there must be at least a few female Mormon judges out there in the world.

I live in Iowa and same sex marriage is legal here. I wouldn’t have heartburn over marrying same sex people, either. It’s not breaking any laws in Iowa and again, it has nothing to do with the Gospel. Gay people happen. If they want to get married and legally can, especially if children are involved, it doesn’t bother me.

Rob thinks I am off my rocker for even considering such a thing. But here’s the deal:

In my office I deal with children who are under stress because their parents are flaky and haven’t decided to marry. There is a constant, emotional undercurrent of instability in non-married families. Those three couples I got married – They were clients whose life choices were directly affecting their children.

I wasn’t surprised to read in the celebrity magazines at the supermarket checkout that Brad Pitt and Angelina’s six kids are pressuring them to get married. It is human nature to desire commitment and stability. I want to encourage homes where children have the peace that comes when parents make the emotional and legal commitment to be “all in.” I don’t care how much anyone argues the value of shacking up; it is not the same as being married.

So —- keeping in mind that female judges (and a few surely must be Mormon, right?) are already marrying folks, what do you think?

Can you officiate in civil marriages and still be a Mormon in good standing?