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Take action now for legal humanist marriages

May 14, 2013 6:40 PM

We need you to email your MP right now to support legal recognition for humanist marriages in England and Wales.

On Monday and Tuesday next week, MPs will be debating the Marriage Bill currently before Parliament. Its main purpose is to extend marriage to same-sex couples but also being debated will be an amendment to give legal recognition to humanist marriages in England and Wales.

Humanist marriages have had legal recognition in Scotland since 2005 and this has led to a great increase in public knowledge of Humanism and non-religious approaches to life in Scotland in that time, as well as giving non-religious couples the option of a wedding ceremony that allows them full expression of their own personal beliefs and values, conducted by a celebrant who they know shares them. Last year, almost 3000 couples had a humanist marriage in Scotland - overtaking the number of Roman Catholic marriages and on course to overtake the Church of Scotland by 2014.

Every year, the number of weddings conducted by our celebrants in England and Wales exceeds the number of many sorts of marriage that are legal (e.g. Quaker, Unitarian, or Jewish marriages) and we believe that legal recognition for humanist weddings is fair, rational and timely.

We urgently need your help today.

Although the government has said it is not against humanist marriages in principle, it is resisting the change. However, the vote will be a free one, which means MPs will make up their own minds on whether to support legal recognition for humanist marriages or not.

We need MPs from all parties to support this move, and we need you to contact your MP today.

Adherence to profound and life-shaping beliefs is not confined to those who profess a religion and although all couples have access to a legal civil marriage, only religious couples have access to a legal marriage based on their deepest beliefs and values. The introduction of legal humanist marriages will not affect anyone adversely; it will just allow those couples who are increasingly choosing to have a humanist wedding to have this as their legal ceremony and make the possibility available and known to many couples who might never otherwise choose to do so.

Many thanks,

Jim Al-Khalili

President, British Humanist Association

Please click on the links for a quick way to write to your MP