CFI certified Secular Celebrants are legal to solemnize marriages in Indiana, Illinois, Oregon, and District of Columbia. We are taking action to become legal to solemnize marriages in other states.
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Randy Pelton is a past president of the Northeast Ohio branch of the Center for Inquiry and is currently its Vice President of Programming. He plays an active role in the Northern Ohio Freethought Society, an affiliated branch of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Randy has been a member for more than a decade of and contributor to the American Civil Liberties Union, Americans United for Separation of Church and State and Freedom From Religion Foundation. He is also an active participant in the Freethinker/Atheist community in northeast Ohio as an active member of The Cleveland Freethinkers and The Cleveland Skeptics. Randy will work with you in developing a service to meet your needs and desires in a wedding ceremony, funeral or memorial service, commitment ceremony, baby naming/welcoming ceremonies or any other type of life event with which you seek assistance. Randy lives in the Northeast Ohio area but is willing to travel to any location in the state to assist the non-theist or theist in presentation of a program free of the rituals of a traditional sectarian service or ceremony.
Randy has been a freethinker and atheist for nearly all of his 61 years. He was raised in a nominally Christian household, attended church on occasion as a child, but was skeptical of religious belief from an early age. He recently decided to become a secular celebrant to help members of the non-theist, freethinker community have life event ceremonies and memorials performed by someone who shares their worldview or is seeking simply to avoid the rituals traditionally associated with religious ceremonies. He was married for nearly 36 years and is recently widowed.
(Note: Ohio law currently permits a secular celebrant to perform a marriage ceremony but not solemnize it – sign the marriage license. There is a bill pending in committee in the state legislature that, if approved, would permit secular celebrants to also solemnize a couple’s marriage. Randy hopes that this bill is passed soon, thus avoiding the need for a legal challenge, like the one that was necessary in 2014 to permit secular celebrants in the states under the authority of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit to solemnize weddings.)
Randy is a retired high school science teacher with undergraduate degrees in Secondary Education, Geology and Mass Media Communications. Prior to teaching, he was a newspaper and magazine journalist. He lives in Tallmadge, Ohio.