- Associated Press - Thursday, February 19, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Atheists, secular humanists and other nonreligious people would be allowed to officiate weddings under a proposal that’s emerged in Ohio.

State Sen. Michael Skindell (SKIN’-duhl), a Cleveland Democrat, is partnering with the Amherst, New York-based Center for Inquiry, on the legislation. It adds “secular celebrants” to the list of those authorized to solemnize marriages, joining religious ministers and public officials.

Monette Richards, president of the center’s northeast Ohio branch, says the current situation is unsatisfactory to many nonbelievers. She called the legislation “the next great step toward achieving nonreligious Americans’ equal status with their religious neighbors.”

The effort follows a decision in June by a federal judge in Indiana that favored the role of secular celebrants.

The legislation is unlikely to gain much traction in the Republican-dominated Ohio Senate.

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