Recently, I proudly presided at the wedding of Jacob Shiffrin and Sarah Olbrantz in Saint Louis, Missouri. It was a wonderful event. But, how you might ask, could I have the authority to marry them. I am not a judge, a clergyman, or authorized by a religious institution of which Jacob or Sarah are members as Missouri law seems to require. The answer, of course, is that I became a pseudo-clergyman on line in a couple of minutes. Missouri accepts such credentials. So do most states (although questions have been raised in Connecticut, Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, and New York). Although Missouri permits judges to marry couples, some states require that only spiritual leaders preside at weddings.
Suppose, however, that a couple want a non-religious social worker to marry them. Is a state law preventing the social worker from marrying the couple constitutional? It strikes me that a law forcing a couple to be married by a minister or a pseudo-minister establishes religion within the meaning of the First Amendment. If the purpose of such laws is to assure that couples are well advised, there is no basis for excluding the social worker. If the purpose of the law is to impose religious advice on the couple, the laws would seem to clearly violate the First Amendment.
In 1753, Parliament required that couples be married in Anglican churches with exceptions for Jews and Quakers. We have come a long way since then. We have a long way to go.