In the UK you can choose to have a Humanist ceremony, but outside of Scotland? All marriage must involve a legally recognised service.
These are religious in nature. Scotland however voted in 2005 to allow “humanist” weddings. It is one of the six nations in the world where this is allowed. It lets a couple express their love and commitment through the story of life and the affirmation of those they love and cherish rather than the words of a state.
Couples organising Humanist wedding ceremonies can choose to part with tradition or fully embrace it. Some brides choose to be walked down the aisle by their fathers, or both parents, or make that walk on their own. And there is a greater choice in terms of location than there is for civil ceremonies which have to be conducted at premises with licences.
And in a nod to the pagan traditions of Scotland? Humanist Society Scotland celebrants encourage couples to write their own personal wedding service rather than utilise the vows associated with other civil services. And unlike the rigid civil ceremonies of religion, many Scots choose pagan practices such as hand binding or choose to have their services in the open in places such as on top of Scotland’s hills and around it’s lochs.
Couples all over the UK should be able to have a humanist ceremony as a legally recognised service as there is an obvious unfairness in a law that only recognises religious ceremonies of marriage and eschews the value of the civil marriage. A recent attempt to have an amendment (to recognise humanist marriages) to the Marriage Bill, before the UK parliament, was rejected.
The amendment will be brought back. And I hope it wins.