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The Church Of The Flying Spaghetti Monster Can Officially Perform Marriages In New Zealand

'It's not a joke.'

The Church of The Flying Spaghetti Monster, which was created in 2005 to protest the teaching of "intelligent design," or creationism, alongside evolution in Kansas public schools, has taken one more step toward becoming a real organized religion: They are now licensed to perform marriages in New Zealand.

Devotees of the Flying Spaghetti Monster are referred to as "Pastafarians." They speak like pirates (which they refer to as "the original Pastafarians") and often express their religious devotion by wearing colanders on their heads -- since that's what's used to drain spaghetti.

Pastafarians purport to believe that a flying spaghetti monster created the universe, and respond to the FAQ "Is this a joke?" on their website by stating, "It’s not a joke. Elements of our religion are sometimes described as satire and there are many members who do not literally believe our scripture, but this isn’t unusual in religion. A lot of Christians don’t believe the Bible is literally true -- but that doesn’t mean they aren’t True Christians. If you say Pastafarians must believe in a literal Flying Spaghetti Monster to be True Believers, then you can make a similar argument for Christians. There is a lot of outlandish stuff in the Bible that rational Christians choose to ignore."

For the sake of proving that their religion is every bit as "real" as other religions, a number of devout Pastafarians have gone so far as insisting on wearing a colander for their driver's license photos. One such man in New Zealand explained in a 2014 interview, "I am complying in every respect to the New Zealand law...I am simply claiming the same privileges awarded to those who claim to believe in a magic man in the sky. They can wear religious headwear."

In New Zealand, the church is now one step closer to being considered an officially-recognized religion. According to a report from stuff.co.nz, the church's New Zealand branch applied for permission to conduct marriages in November and succeeded in proving that the the primary aim of the organization is to "uphold or promote religious beliefs, philosophical or humanitarian convictions." The church was officially granted permission to perform marriage ceremonies in New Zealand yesterday (Dec. 14).

The news was celebrated with a post on the New Zealand Flying Spaghetti Monster Facebook page, that read, in the signature pirate-speak of devout Pastafarians the world over, "Ahoy Pastafarians! The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster was Gazetted on 10 December 2015 - you can search for NZ Gazette and the keyword Spaghetti and see fer yerself! We Be Official! R'Amen!"

The world now waits with baited breath for pics from the first-ever Pastafarian wedding.