Celebrants of the Humanist Society

Humanist celebrants are the clergy of the Humanist Society, providing leadership, moral guidance, rites of passage, and life celebration services to humanists. The Society actively avoids dogmatism and abuse of authority, but celebrants, as clergy, are the ambassadors of the Society. While many don’t prefer the ‘religious’ term due to the potential for inaccurate theistic or dogmatic associations, celebrants are religious leaders in every legal and practical sense.

Humanist celebrants conduct humanist weddings, commitment/same-sex unions, memorials, baby namings, and other life cycle ceremonies. Our celebrants provide humanist meaning and solemnity to life celebrations, gatherings, and communities. Celebrants help humanists through the most important times in life including birth, love, loss, morality, and mortality. A humanist wedding ceremony is meaningful, personal, and professional with a humanist approach. Humanist celebrants may refuse any service contrary to their humanist values, but have a strong record of providing inclusive secular, inter-religious, or other non-traditional services.

The Humanist Society currently has over 394 Humanist Celebrants in 44 states and 3 countries. Our celebrants also include 82 humanist chaplains with several of them being paid positions in a variety of institutions. For more information on the humanist celebrant application process, go to our Become a Celebrant page.

Humanist celebrants are recognized as clergy in all states and many countries, being accorded the same rights and privileges granted by law to priests, ministers, and rabbis of traditional theistic religions. This recognition includes the right to solemnize weddings in the eyes of the state. Contact the Humanist Society if local court clerks or other officials do not recognize your rights as we have access to a legal team that can likely assist. “Celebrant” is the official clergy terminology, though it is generally acceptable to use other terms such as Minister so long as the humanist association is clear. Note that Chaplain and Lay Leader are separate non-clergy designations. Celebrants should not use those designations unless granted those endorsements by the Society.