Thursday, May 14, 2015

Atheists Can Now Perform Marriages In Minnesota County; Challenge Is Moot

In Atheists for Human Rights v. County of Washington, Minnesota, (D MN, May 13, 2015), a Minnesota federal district court dismissed as moot a constitutional challenge to Washington County's refusal to accept marriage celebrant credentials issued by Atheists for Human Rights to Rodney Michael Rogers because AFHR did not profess to be a religion. The court said in part:
Washington County has clearly and unequivocally changed its allegedly wrongful practice. The County has not gone through a formal amending process because there was no formal written policy in place. Rather, Washington County’s prior practice was based on the advice of Washington County’s legal counsel. The County’s legal counsel has clearly and definitely changed that advice.
According to a report on the decision by the Minneapolis Star Tribune:
The county’s change in policy came four days after the Star Tribune published an article about the suit and reported that Hennepin, Ramsey and Anoka counties certified atheists to conduct weddings. Meanwhile, the county had registered people belonging to groups with tongue-in-cheek names, including, “The Church of the Latter Day Dude” and the “Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.”