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Family – Humanist marriages in NI

October 2018

Queen’s University Belfast
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The first two humanist marriages have taken place in Northern Ireland after the Belfast Court of Appeal ruled that humanist marriages must be legally recognised.

Emma Taylor and Paul Malone tied the knot at Queen’s University Belfast, while Alanna McCaffrey and Ronan Johnson got married in County Fermanagh.

The only previous legal humanist marriage to have taken place in Northern Ireland was when the couple who took the court case, Laura Lacole and Eunan O’Kane, got married last summer.

The couple had been supported in taking their case by liberal think-tank Humanists UK. Their marriage followed the High Court ruling in their favour last year, but no further couples were allowed to have humanist marriages while the Court of Appeal considered an appeal to the decision.

A humanist wedding is non-religious and differs from a civil wedding in that it is entirely reflective of the humanist beliefs and values of the couple.

With this change in the law, England and Wales are the only parts of Great Britain and Northern Ireland where humanist marriage is not legally recognised.

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