New Zealanders can marry in ‘Pastafarian’ ceremonies

family law

Couples in New Zealand can now marry in ceremonies performed by the initially satirical international organisation the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM).

The country’s Department of Internal Affairs approved the first ‘Pastafarian’ wedding celebrant this month after the church won the right to marry people in December. Karen Martyn is the church’s first “ministeroni”. A post on the church’s Facebook page announced her new status but added that the first scheduled wedding had fallen through. The couple had decided not to “tie the noodley knot”. Couples who want to be married by Ms Martyn will be required to make a donation to the church between $150 (£72) and $800 (£385).

Although it started as a parody of religious literalism, its supporters claim the Church of the FSM has become a religion in its own right in recent years. The first reference to the Flying Spaghetti Monster in public came during a controversy in 2005 when the State Board of Education in the midwestern American state of Kansas approved the teaching of intelligent design in public schools. In an open letter to the board, 24 year-old physics graduate Bobby Henderson professed a belief in the Monster to satirise the arguments in favour of creationism, also known as ‘intelligent design’. His letter quickly went viral and the Flying Spaghetti Monster became a popular symbol of resistance to dogma throughout the Internet.

Soon people around the world began to claim that they were ‘Pastafarians’ and the Church of the FSM became recognised as a religion itself in countries like Poland and the Netherlands.

The organisation was approved by the New Zealand’s Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages Jeff Montgomery. He said that the church’s application was successful because of a sub-section in the country’s Marriage Act which states that organisations that promote religious, philosophical or humanitarian convictions are eligible to perform marriages.

Following a review of the church’s website and other media, Mr Montgomery found “a consistent presentation of their philosophies”.

“While some claim this is a ‘parody organisation’”, Mr Montgomery said when he approved the church’s application, “members have rebutted this on a number of occasions”.

Photo by John Dill via Flickr

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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