Oh wait, no it wasn’t. I went here, filled out some basic information and verified an email address. For those of you that didn’t visit that link, here’s a picture of the form.
There are no pages after that – that’s the entire thing. You get a verification email and click the link, and you’re done. Many states, including the one I live in, require no registration with the government whatsoever. Unfortunately, not all states are so trusting; some do screen the process. If so, they might require a Letter of Good Standing from your church, and then you’re pretty much screwed: That thing costs ten whole dollars. You can order it from the site. But most of you won’t have to do another damn thing. There are no quizzes, no ethical or moral questions - no qualifications, period. They don’t even ask if you have a criminal record. You could have spent the last decade serial raping baby panda bears in front of fourth grade classes on zoo field trips, and you can still become an ordained minister in most states, perfectly able to perform legally binding prison weddings so that finally – finally - Old Butch and Johnny Lips can stop living in sin (presuming that the Aryan nation can come up with enough cigarette cartons for Johnny’s dowry, that is.)
You don’t even have to use your real name. For example, I’ve just had The Cookie Monster ordained. Do you want to get married? Looking for a cheap, accessible minister to officiate the ceremony? Buy a Cookie Monster puppet, put on your best Monster voice (the marriage will not be recognized if you don’t do the voice) and he will gladly preside over your wedding. Send a scan of the filled-out marriage certificate to firstname.lastname@example.org, and it will be returned to you, signed and ready to file.
No further steps required (although there is a small, onetime fee of two cookies, to be fed to the puppet post-ceremony). If you’re worried that the records office will dispute it, dress a small child in a Sesame Street T-shirt when you file the certificate; only the most heartless bastard would be able to utter the words “but the cookie monster doesn’t exist” to the kid’s face.
Need to get married in a hurry and don’t want to bother with that whole Judge/Minister/Unemployed Ship’s Captain Gauntlet? Just find the nearest homeless man, and offer to buy him a pint of Red Grape Mad Dog 20/20 (the flavor will be important; Red Grape has the highest alcohol content and looks the least girly when you’re downing it as fast you can, trying to out-race the muscle response of your own gag reflex) if he’ll just fill out this short form you’ve got open on your cell phone, and then sign a piece of paper. Drop it in a mailbox and BAM! You’re officially man and wife with whatever kind of woman agrees to be married by a guy who lives behind the Chipotle and whose first name is barking.
This is how sacred the institution of marriage is in America today: Because of this article, at least ten thousand people who spend their mornings reading dick jokes about trivia are now ordained ministers. People that post under pseudonyms like DongRabbit69 and Captainweedbong are now fully capable of officiating the solemn, dignified act of holy matrimony. And if you’re willing to actually perform ceremonies, there’s no regulation on that either: How you marry your couples is up to you. Perhaps you’ll only marry people during James Bond marathons; maybe your fee is an interpretive dance involving the entire wedding party graphically re-enacting the night the groom was conceived; maybe nobody is allowed to blink while you perform the ceremony, or you’ll storm out and the whole thing is off. Get creative, is what I’m saying. Make it memorable.
Take me, for example: How do I protect and preside over the sanctified act of legal marriage? Well, I will only agree to sign off on the form if all involved acknowledge that the marriage is objectively a terrible, terrible idea. You’re white and she’s black? Nope: I won’t preside over it. I don’t care how diametrically opposed to the idea your parents are; you two stand a good chance of making it, and I just don’t want any part of that. But add the words ‘power’ and ‘panther’ after those respective colors, and that’s a marriage I will carry into law. Hell, I’ll even allow technicalities: I don’t care if you love each other dearly and are perfectly matched in every way…so long as the marriage itself is a bad idea. Like if the entire ceremony has to take place hurtling through the air after a bitchin’ water-ski jump – I will do that.
But that’s just me. Like I said earlier, really explore your space on this thing: Dress up like the Hellraiser and whip the couple with an extension cord after every sentence; insist that everybody must always be spinning and try to time “man and wife” to the vomiting; or hell, keep to the classics and just perform all ceremonies naked from the waist down. You’ve probably done this on a whim, and have absolutely no regard whatsoever for the institute or marriage, the sanctity of religion, or (seeing as how this is the internet) even the value of human life and the importance of public indecency laws. You go ahead and do whatever twisted, horrible thing it takes to get your rocks off while performing your ordained duties – because fuck it, you know? It’s not like the marriage is nullified just because you punched the groom in the dick right as he went in for the bridal kiss. The process for becoming ordained – the last, ultimate step in legalizing and validating a marriage before the state - is a totally unregulated, un-policed, and completely frivolous process. So why not treat it like an all-you-can-eat buffet of hedonistic spite? But hey, always remember: This is a sacred covenant.
So no fags.
You can buy Robert's book, Everything is Going to Kill Everybody: The Terrifyingly Real Ways the World Wants You Dead, or find him on Twitter, Facebook and his own site, I Fight Robots or you can just wait for next week's installment of how-to guides on destroying sacred institutions: The Path to Adoption (Through Arson).