So yesterday the Daily Mail published an article about Humanist marriages.
The article written by the political reporter Tamara Cohen is heavily weighted against any change in the marriage laws. I cannot find any record online of what Ms Cohen’s political affiliations are but judging by her writing she certainly has a strong Conservative bias.
Cohen uses the “slippery slope” argument to claim that by allowing Humanist weddings the precedent will then be set to allow other groups such as Pagans, Druids & Jedi to marry. These groups are called “ridiculous” & a “Government source” is cited as saying
“proposals such as this which seek to undermine and dilute the institution of marriage by creating a two-tiered system are ridiculous. We have a fundamentally different marriage system to the one in Scotland and while they may be open to pagans, spiritualists and Jedi’s conducting marriages, we are not.”
There is no wish for a two tiered system at all. The proposed amendment is specific to Humanist marriages which would mean that couples like Tris & I would be able to have a personal, meaningful ceremony without religious overtones that fits in with our beliefs. As it stands we & all other English Humanist couples have to make a choice over whether or not to arrange a registry office ceremony as well to give our unions a legal status. If the amendment is made we would be able to plan a marriage service our way & it be recognised as legal just as Christians, Unitarians, Jews & Quakers can.
I felt so strongly about the Humanist Amendment to the English Marriage Bill that I decided I needed to vlog about it.
To send an email to your MP click here.
At present Tris & I have no choice but to arrange our wedding as either two separate components: one a meaningful, personalised ceremony officiated by a Humanist celebrant & the other a banal, bureaucratic civil service in front of a Government recognised Registrar. If we are lucky we may be able to find a Registrar willing to work with the Humanist celebrant to create the wedding we are dreaming of. If we can’t then it’ll be a case of having to go to the Registry Office which will be frustrating as we would like to have our legal wedding date the same as our Humanist one but this will complicate matters in the timing of the day.
The fact that the English Government does not see a wedding conducted by a Humanist celebrant as a legal marriage disappoints me. Christians, Jews, Unitarians & Quakers have their religious marriage ceremonies recognised by the English Government so why force Tris & I as well as all the other Humanists in the country through the hoopla of having to organise a second officiant for the celebration of our commitment to each other? Discrimination of any kind is terrible & there is an opportunity here for you to help the situation change.
Next week as part of the debate over same sex marriages there is an amendment that would include Humanist weddings as legally recognisable by English Government. It is a free vote so each MP can make their own choice as to how they cast their vote rather than being instructed by the party leader on how to choose how to vote. Click here to go through an email template that will send a message to your local MP asking them to support the change.
If you still aren’t sure here is some more information that you may find useful:
Humanist Weddings are recognised as legal marriages in Scotland.
Last year there were almost 3000 Humanist weddings in Scotland which is more than the number of Roman Catholic weddings there during the same timeframe.
If the trend continues then Humanist ceremonies will overtake Church of Scotland weddings as well in coming years.
Norway, Australia & parts of the USA recognise Humanist weddings as legal marriages.
Many noted historical figures were Humanist including: Isaac Asimov, Johannes Brahms, Albert Einstein, Nikola Tesla & Mark Twain.
For more information on Humanism click here.