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Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of Ordinary Times. Relapsed Lawyer, admitted to practice law (under his real name) in California and Oregon. On Twitter, to his frequent regret, at @burtlikko. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.

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27 Responses

  1. Avatar Matty says:

    So what I got from this is as a single man I need to buy a drill.Report

  2. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    The man in your story was either really charming or the woman in your story was into the bad boy type. Nothing says bad boy like reckless disregard for safety.Report

  3. Avatar Alan Scott says:

    Burt, I was under the impression that one could be temporarily deputized by the state to perform marriages without needing any kind of religious affiliation. Why didn’t you go that route?Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko says:

      1. To call yourself a minister is free. To get the one-off deputization costs something like $70.

      2. Having called myself a minister once, if I enjoyed doing the ceremony (I did) I could thereafter do it again.

      3. It amused me, and my friends, that I of all people be deemed a “minister.”Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        I quite like the concept of ministry as a person or thing through which something is accomplished, including the needs of individuals to be bound by marriage contract.

        It does not require a religious connotation.

        (And I wonder, now, if Christian conservatives would be more comfortable with government if, as in many other nations, we had ‘ministries’ instead of ‘departments’ and ‘bureaus.’)Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        Ugh. See section 3 of the OP.

        If they want to be bound, they can do that on their own time and with a safe word of their own choosing.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        To call yourself a minister is free. To get the one-off deputization costs something like $70.

        Smacks a bit of establishment, doesn’t it?Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        It smells a little bit like that, yes.

        But as I am living proof that one becomes a minister simply by calling oneself this and a purely secular person has the same opportunity to call himself a minister as does someone who has whatever theological credentials are generally accepted by a variety of religious organizations, this feels closer to an appropriate accommodation of religion rather than an impermissible establishment of it.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        I’d say you’re living proof that they aren’t bothering to enforce the law carefully. That you had to misrepresent yourself to a public official (is there a potential implication for your bar status there?) still seems (mildly) problematic.Report

    • Avatar Reformed Republican says:

      In Florida, a Notary Public is authorized to perform a marriage ceremony. Nothing remotely religious required.Report

  4. Avatar zic says:

    When my husband and I married, we wanted a JP, not a religious ceremony. So we went and talked to the JP for the town we lived in, and he was going to be away on vacation on the day we wished to marry. He said we should go to the man in the next town, and tell him he had permission to perform the wedding at our home in our town. We did that, and his response was, “Well, I’ll look into it, and if it’s not going to be legal, I’ll just have you come here the night before and perform the ceremony here.” We agreed to this, and not hearing any followup, continued with our plans.

    On the day of our wedding, he showed up with a Methodist Priest in tow. Seems he’d forgotten to bother to check into the legalities, and the night before, began worrying on it. So he’d called his friend, asked him to tag along.

    Here we are, a house full of guests assembled from all over the country for our wedding, and both a JP and a man of the cloth. My sweetie and I talked it over, and decided it wasn’t worth making a fuss over. Plus, some religious component to the wedding would be a comfort to some of the elders. So we went to the priest, and told him to not use the word, “obey,” replace it with “cherish.” He agreed. The JP performed a ceremony (brief,) followed by the priests ceremony (also brief,) we essentially gave the same set of standard vows twice, promising to “Love, honor, and cherish,” so long as we both shall live.

    So who can and cannot perform a marriage ceremony can be vague.

    It’s probably good that we’ve had a successful marriage, because I think, to divorce, we might have required two judges and two decrees, or a judge’s decree and an church’s annulment.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      We weren’t sure whether we were married by law, because the computer system had broken down, and they were unable to accept payment at the time (we still paid, but they didn’t enter it till later, one presumes — assuming they didn’t just pocket the money…).
      I suppose with the certificate signed by the judge (we got married at the county jail), it’s legal enough to sue if anyone wants to bitch about it.Report

    • I wasn’t aware there were a lot of Methodist priests 🙂

      My wife and I did a two-part marriage. We went to city hall last May and got legally married. Then in July, we had the BIG CELEBRATION and were married by a friend. Neither ceremony was religious. Given that she’s Jewish and I am a lapsed Catholic turned former evangelical, that’s how we wanted it. It was a great time. As good as the second time was, I still cherish both ceremonies. For us (or at least for me….although I think my wife would agree) there’s something sentimentally nice about having the state recognize our relationship.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        Not being Methodist, I am unaware of the vernacular, and should probably have looked it up before commenting.

        I remember you saying you were married, it seems like just a week or two ago! I hope it’s been wonderful, and that you’ll give her a hug and tell her I’m grateful for the joy you bring to each other. Double joy.Report

  5. Avatar Fnord says:

    There is the Apple of Discord/Judgement of Paris story that features both Athena and Aphrodite. Not that Athena does a particularly good judge representing the majesty of the law there.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko says:

      Not only that, but in that story, Aphrodite and Athena are explicitly depicted as competitors rather than collaborators.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        Paris was an idiot. Lordship of all of the Greeks or Lordship over all of Asia and you pick the affections of an already married woman?

        Athena and Hera were awfully vengeful, but then again they’re greek goddesses and vengefulness if kindof Hera’s MO.Report

  6. Avatar Shelley says:

    The drill was contact.

    The hard part is making contact.Report

  7. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    avoid “causing your potential mate potentially lifelong personal injuries” as the strategy of choice for making that initial connection

    Hey, it worked for Rob and Laura Petrie!Report

  8. Avatar Francis says:

    Re: Nomenclature.

    One of the joys of being in-house counsel in a small company is that I’m the only lawyer around. Recently I was asked about same-sex marriage and, naturally, the conversation devolved to the question of what is marriage.

    Marriage, I answered, is not a contract and has never been a contract. It is a simultaneous change of status. You see, the law recognizes that the status of people towards their government changes over the course of their lives, usually in a binary way. We are either juveniles or adults, unwed or wed, incarcerated or free, incompetent or competent, etc. When our status changes, our rights and responsibilities — both toward our government and our fellow citizens — concomitantly changes.

    The problem is that the word ‘marriage’ has both a civil meaning and a religious meaning. As to who had the word first and who stole it from the other, I leave to legal and religious historians. But looking at the issue purely as one of allowing (or depriving) two citizens who want to avail themselves of a particular status, it’s pretty obvious (at least to me) that disallowing same-sex marriages is both an equal protection and a due process violation.

    (My god, it must be Monday. I said less using more words than usual.)Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko says:

      How did this go over with your office-mates?Report

      • Avatar Francis says:

        The ones who hadn’t fallen asleep from boredom or gone screaming down the hallways actually thought that looking at marriage as a status change was an interesting way of looking at it, and not one that they had ever thought of.

        One individual was particularly amused by comparing marriage to incarceration. I recommended couples therapy.Report

  9. Avatar Rod says:

    Thanks for this, Burt. I’ve gotten myself into more than a couple arguments with hard-core libertarian types who insist that the government has no legitimate business interfering in a private contract.

    My response has been that people who say that fundamentally misapprend the nature of marriage. It’s not a contract, but a certification of a particular relationship status. The nearest equivalent might be adoption papers or even a real estate deed.Report

  10. Avatar Neil Obstat says:

    Back in the late ’70s my mother got a wild hair going, and got herself credentialed by the “Universal Life Church” as a minister, registered a nominal church entity, and got herself recognized by the state of Ohio to perform weddings. She did a few, enjoyed herself immensely while doing it, but it fell by the wayside over time. She also “ordained” my brother & myself as her associate ministers. I still have the ID card stuck in a photo album.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      My husband’s credentialed to marry folks.
      Not by a faith he’s currently practicing, but eh.
      He’s also credentialed in a variety of other things
      one might find “useful”.Report