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Humanists UK calls for public support on humanist marriage

Humanists UK is calling for public support to help pave the way for legal recognition of humanist marriages in England and Wales.

Following media coverage at the weekend in The Guardian and The Independent on the sharp rise in humanist weddings, Humanists UK is now asking people to write to their MP to urge the Government to back legal recognition of humanist marriages.

The Guardian article highlights how humanist weddings have increased by a massive 266% over the last decade and a half, while most faith-based English and Welsh marriage ceremonies fell sharply (Church of England weddings fell by 28%, Catholic weddings by 34% and Baptist by 42%) and yet they still don’t have legal recognition in England and Wales.

The article also tells the story of Amy Hicks and Michaela Francis, who are having a humanist wedding ceremony in August, and who will have to go through a perfunctory ‘official’ wedding at the registry office in Brighton town hall the day before they get married to make it legally binding. Amy said, as well as the extra costs of £300 for a ‘double-ceremony’, the couple feel they are being discriminated against.

Humanist weddings are legally recognised in Scotland, Northern Ireland, The Republic of Ireland, and Jersey, and Guernsey is now bringing about recognition too.

To show your support to this long-overdue and much-needed reform to the law in England and Wales, visit our take action page and write to your MP today.

Humanists UK Chief Executive Andrew Copson said:

‘The fact that people are seeking to start their married life on a firm foundation of shared values and meaningful public commitment says great things about our society and it is bewildering that the Government continues to resist giving legal recognition. Thousands of couples remain either legally unmarried or have to go through the expensive irrelevance of a register office in addition to what they see as their ‘real’ wedding.

‘Parliament gave the Justice Secretary the power to give legal recognition to humanist marriages five years ago and a public consultation showed that over 90% of people wanted it done. David Gauke should get on and do it. If he does, he will be enhancing the personal happiness of thousands of couples and improving society in a way that few politicians ever get the chance to do.’

NOTES:

For further comment or information, please contact Humanists UK press manager Casey-Ann Seaniger at casey@humanism.org.uk or phone 020 7324 3078 or 07393 344293.

Read more on ‘Humanists UK wedding numbers continue to grow’.

Read more about our campaigns work around marriage laws.

Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by over 85,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefitting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.

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