Gay Marriage, Divorce, and Star Wars

On behalf of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Divorce on Friday, March 22, 2013.

There is a phantom menace in Florida. Couples who want to divorce may not have solemnized their vows properly. Florida strictly regulates who can solemnize a marriage. The list includes: ordained clergy, judicial officers, clerks of court and notaries public.

If your marriage was not legally solemnized, you may only be eligible for legal annulment; you would not be able to file for divorce, and you may not plead for alimony or equitable distribution in your legal petition.

In Scotland there is a new hope. The Scots are holding public consultation on the Marriage and Civil Partnership Bill, which would legalize gay marriage, and grant official recognition to weddings performed by Jedi Knights. In Scotland, we are literally witnessing the return of the Jedi:

The Force is strong with the Jedi in Scotland. A bill under consideration in Scotland would grant those who have literally made “Star Wars” a religion the power to perform marriage ceremonies.

And while it may sound like a joke to most, the Jedi religion is quite popular in some parts of Europe. In England, it is the second-most popular “alternative religion,” with more than 175,000 people listing themselves as Jedi in the 2012 nationwide census.

“Our current consultation covers not only the introduction of same-sex marriage but also the detail of important protections in relation to religious bodies and celebrants, freedom of speech and education,” a Scottish government spokeswoman said.

“At the moment, marriage ceremonies by bodies such as humanists have been classed as religious, even though the beliefs of such organizations are nonreligious….”

The Scottish government plans to hold a public consultation on the bill and, of course, not all traditionally religious groups are happy about creating a new category for ceremonies that are by their very nature, arguably, a religious practice.

“There are loads of people in a diverse society like this for whom belief can mean virtually anything-the Flat Earth Society and Jedi Knights Society-who knows?” the Rev. Iver Martin told the BBC.

For their part, the Jedi say the very nature of their beliefs would prevent them from tarnishing any other religious institutions.

Is there a problem with allowing light saber wielding Jedi to solemnize matrimony in Florida? Legalization of Jedi weddings in Scotland is part of a larger bill designed to legalize gay marriage. The attack of Jedi weddings could bolster claims from gay marriage opponents who could argue that legalizing gay marriage will lead us down a slippery slope. After all, if Jedi marriages become legal, how can we deny matrimony to others without risking a Clone War?