Post # 1
My fiance is from the middle east. We are getting married on July 4th late at night so finding a secular officiant (in my state if you dontdwant a religious figure it HAS to be a judge). Well turns out most judges don’t do private weddings, and the ones that DO are not available. So I finally found someone two weeks before the wedding, so naturally I paid upfront to secure his services. Well I met with him today and he was asking a lot of ignorant questions about my fiance’s name and made a comment that everyone at the wedding is gonna be talking funny. So maybe not full on tiki torch racist, but definitely “good people on both sides” racist.
My fiance doesn’t seem concerned. But I wonder if I look back at my wedding day, will I regret letting this guy marry us? If I can find another officiant, does anyone have any advice for how to ask this guy for my money back? Or should I just let this be a learning experience for the dude and say our vows in Arabic? (My only concern about that would be becoming a story he tells his buds about the time he went to a wedding with a bunch of “those people”)
What do you think?
Post # 2
That’s such a tricky one. I don’t have any great advice, except maybe go with your gut.
I went to a Greek Orthodox baptism about three years ago where the pastor(?) went on a 10 minute rant about the evils of transvestites and transsexuals and how the god parents will have to protect the child from becoming gay. It was the strangest experience I’ve ever had. Now I don’t believe all Greek Orthodox ministers hold those beliefs but this one did, and if they said anything like that at an event of mine I would flip.
Post # 3
Can regular people with an online ordination do weddings in your state? It might be worth it to look into this – you could ask a trusted friend to get ordained and do your ceremony.
I wouldn’t feel comfortable with an officiant that I wasn’t 100% sure I could trust to make me, my partner, and all of my guests feel welcomed and celebrated.
Post # 4
pearfectprincess : omg that’s bonkers.
snermpling : I agree with pp that this is a tricky one. Given that your Fiance is okay with it and that your wedding is only two weeks away I would probably just move on with it. Trying to find a new officiant this late in the game sounds very stressful. We do business, interact with,, etc. racists every day unwittingly. Not every single battle is fightable or worth fighting. That said, a wedding isn’t just an everyday transaction, I know you want to feel good about this and confident. It is tricky. If it wasn’t so close I’d say find another officiant just for peace of mind.
This might be a good opportunity to expose a small minded person to an ethnicity/culture different than their own for the first time. Maybe the officiant is afraid of the unknown, or people he *thinks* are different than him. Could be a learning & de-fearing experience for him. Arabic people tend to be super fun, festive & good spirited at weddings. You never know the impact you could have on him.
Definitely make sure you are all on the same page with the script and sticking strictly to it if you do proceed with him.
Post # 5
Can you get one of your friends to be deputized to perform a marriage? Or a friend can be “ordained” through some secular or humanist organization to perform a marriage.
Post # 6
snermpling : I would -try- to find another officiant. In regards to getting your money back, did you sign a contract?
Post # 7
Have you looked into “religious” ordinations? Its really difficult for States to uphold rules like that so I think its worth looking into.
Your wedding is next week so finding another judge might be impossible. I would get other arrangements first. If it bothers you and he refuses to issue a refund how much money are we talking about loosing? Is it a significant amount?
I’m inclined to tell him that the wedding is off and maybe he’ll be relieved to give you your money back.
Post # 8
Mmm I would be fine with curious questions, but ignorant comments (like about the weird accents) are just off. I can totally understand why you would be upset and concerned. It totally depends on how much the officiant being someone you like is important to you. In the end it is about the two of you getting married, the officiant will just be the one to make it official and who he is, is really not that important. Is he old? I can sometimes let older people get away with slightly more because they “don’t know any better” but if he was middle aged I would have a problem. Racists make my blood boil. If I was you I would probably keep trying to get someone else, while knowing if you can’t, he is just the “tool” to get you married.
Post # 9
I’m honestly not seeing what would be construed as racist. When you say he was asking ignorant questions about your fiance’s name–well, by definition ignorant means you don’t know something, so naturally you’d ask questions about it. He probably also really wants to make sure he gets the pronunciation right.
As to the comments about people “talking funny”…yeah if he used that exact phrase it’s a bit off. But he might just be acknowledging that people in attendance may have unfamiliar accents if they’re from a different part of the world. I could see how that might make an officiant nervous if he’s worried he’ll have a hard time understanding people.
Since your fiance isn’t bothered, I would just go with this guy.
Post # 10
My only concern is if he makes racist jokes at the ceremony and make everyone feel uncomfortable.
Racism is subjective sometimes. I hate people fake Asian accent (I’m Chinese) or greet me in my language (unless they can actually speak the language), because I’ve had Caucasians (granted, strangers) mock me using those things when I was a teenager. But one of my friends who’s also Chinese don’t mind it at all, she finds it funny, her boss actually joke with her like that a lot (they’ve known each other for a long time). I would’ve been unamused by those jokes if it was me but that’s just based on my personal experience. I know he’s not racist.
So only thing I would be concerned by about this Officient is whether guests might be offended if he decide to make a racially ignorant comment or joke.
Post # 11
Might as well keep looking, it’d be great to have an officiant you really feel good about. If you do want to ask for money back, just say your plans have changed and ask if he’ll refund the deposit – you may have to deal with him saying no though.
Not sure what you mean by “good people on both sides” though because there are certainly good people of all races across the whole political spectrum…
Post # 12
snermpling : many states recognize online ordination (which is usually through the unitarian church) as a “religious figure”. you can have a friend or relative complete the online “ordination” and then perform a secular wedding for you. Darling Husband and i are atheists, but my Brother-In-Law married us with this “ordination”. no state has a religious requirement as for the ceremony or ceremony language itself – the religious requirement is simply about what “power” has given the authorization for the officiant to marry people.
Post # 13
naivemelody : I believe OP was referencing Trump saying that there are “good people on both sides” of Charlottesville.