Simple answer: someone who went online and got ordained just to be able to marry people. Not necessarily a pastor of a church.
In the State of Georgia, there are only two types of people who can marry a couple: Judges and Clergy. We do not have “Justice of the Peace” here in the State of Georgia. If someone claims to be a Justice of the Peace, they are not legally able to marry a couple in the State of Georgia.
“Clergy” can be any religious figure: pastor, chaplain, rabbi, preacher, imam, sangha, priest, bishop, maybe even prophet. Nearly all the time, a clergy person has had religious training and schooling. For example, in order to be a Lutheran Pastor, I had to have a Bachelors Degree prior to entering seminary (which is an additional 4 year program). Making it a total 8 years of educational instruction after high school.
In order to be a “non-denominational officiant” it takes about 20 minutes and some money, then in the eyes of the State of Georgia it qualifies them to be a person who is considered “clergy.” Those persons often call themselves Reverend, because technically they are. I too am a Reverend, yet it took me more than 20 minutes.
I’ve heard of many people going online to get ordained to marry couples, celebrities often do that in order to marry a celebrity couple. Am I opposed to these non-demoninational wedding officiants? Only when they pretend to be a pastor or religious leader, maybe wearing clergy collar and attire, or when they don’t even believe in God and only do this for the money (I doubt they go to worship services anywhere).
How do you know if your wedding officiant has a religious educational background, such as myself, or went online? Simple: ask them.
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