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Harrogate Humanist Wedding Celebrant hoping for legal recognition

Harrogate Humanist Wedding Celebrant hoping for legal recognition

Published by The Stray FM News Team at 1:12pm 7th July 2020. (Updated at 1:52pm 7th July 2020)

Main image: Hester and Joe’s humanist wedding ceremony at Swinton Estate, Masham.

A Harrogate Humanist wedding celebrant has thrown her support behind six couples taking the Government to court.

  • Six couples are in court today and tomorrow hoping to gain legal recognition for Humanist ceremonies.
  • Currently, those wanting such a ceremony must also have a civil ceremony in a registry office to be legally married.
  • Rachael Meyer - a Humanist wedding celebrant in Harrogate - says the move could help local officials and businesses as England moves out of lockdown.

A Humanist wedding celebrant in Harrogate has expressed her support for six couples taking the Government to court today and tomorrow.

The couples are calling for Humanist weddings to be given legal status as marriages.

At the moment in England and Wales, people who'd like a Humanist wedding ceremony must also have a civil ceremony to become legally married.

Rachael Meyer, a Humanist wedding celebrant in Harrogate, says the ceremonies are becoming more popular in the area - and recognition could ease pressure on officials as lockdown eases.

Rachael Meyer - hgt humanist wedding celebrant
Rachael Meyer is a Humanist Wedding Celebrant in Harrogate.

Rachael told Stray FM that despite the lack of legal recognition, more and more people are wanting to have a Humanist wedding.

She told Stray FM about why people choose them over civil ceremonies:

"There's a lot more that goes into it. Each wedding that I do takes me about three days of work, and I have a really long meeting with the couple to find out all about them.

"There's no copy-and-pasting. Everything is crafted bespokely for each couple, and it's a really personal, meaningful ceremony for them.

"We do [ceremonies] for couples who are unable to get a registrar to their venue, we do them for couples who want something other than a contractual wedding in a registry office. We do them for mixed religious couples as well, who don't want religion in their wedding but have lots of humanist values."

It's also hoped that as England comes out of lockdown and weddings are permitted, legal recognition of Humanist ceremonies would ease pressure on civil ceremony registrars.

lisa and matthew humanist wedding
Mathew and Lisa at their humanist ceremony at The Devonshire Arms in Bolton Abbey.

"It's not a religion; it's not anything other than a philosophy on life."

According to Humanists UK, cases of non-religious people who align with humanist belief have existed throughout recorded history.

The organisation says YouGov polling showed 30% of the population hold humanist beliefs and 7% primarily identify as humanists.

Asked for a definition of humanism, Rachael Meyer told Stray FM:

"Wow, okay - that's quite a big question!

"Humanists believe that you have one life. This is the life that we know that we have, so you should live it to the best of your ability with kindness, equality and fairness at the centre of your life."

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said:

"We want to give couples more choice in how they celebrate their commitment to each other.

"That is why we asked the Law Commission to review marriage and make recommendations for a simple, fair and consistent system for all."

The Law Commission is due to feed back to Government in 2021.