I was interviewed by Reverend Geoff Eze on Radio Stoke this morning about the ongoing campaign for the legalisation of Humanist Weddings at an ungodly hour (pun intended) . Apart from my Mum (thanks Mum) I am not sure who would be tuning in at 7.15 a.m.
Geoff asked why I thought the Government were still blocking this and I had to say I really don’t know!
The Marriage Act 2013 created a new category of legally recognised marriages in England and Wales “marriages according to the usages of belief based organisations”. This category was created by the UK Parliament so that Government COULD enact legal recognition to humanist marriages by secondary legislation- WE ARE STILL WAITING !
Humanist weddings have been legally recognised in Scotland since 2005 and The Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Jersey and Guernsey have all followed suit in recent years.
Six humanist couples took a legal case to the High Court in July 2020. They argued that they were discriminated against by the fact that religious marriages are legally recognised but humanist marriages are not. The judge ruled in their favour “the present law gives rise….to discrimination”.
She also ruled that in the light of that, the Secretary of state for Justice “cannot…simply sit on his hands” and do nothing.
However, given the ongoing Law Commission review, she also said that his refusal to act immediately could be justified because of the Government’s desire to consider any reform on a wholesale, rather than a piecemeal basis.
Consider that in the light of the Governments huge U-turn earlier this year amending the Marriage and Civil Partnerships (Approved Premises) regulations 2005 to allow legal outdoor civil weddings to take place- sounds very piecemeal to me ????????
I thought that I had calmed down since I blogged about this last month but talking about it this morning I was struck again by how inherently unfair it is.
I will clamber down from my soap box now, but if you want to hear the conversation, the show is available on-demand here:
Fast forward to one hour and 19 minutes in – who knew I said eh and mmm so much!