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Society – Humanist wedding

August 2017

Northern Ireland held its first ever legal humanist wedding in June, after a lengthy legal battle to secure recognition.

Laura Lacole and Eunan O’Kane wed in a ceremony surrounded by friends and family and conducted by Humanists UK (formerly British Humanists Association) celebrant Isabel Russo.

The decision followed on from a High Court ruling earlier this year, which gave legal recognition to humanist marriages. This decision has been appealed by Northern Ireland’s Attorney General, General Register Office and Department of Finance.

A humanist wedding is a non-religious ceremony, differing from a civil wedding in that it is entirely reflective of the humanist beliefs and values of the couple, conducted by a celebrant who shares their beliefs and values.

In Scotland, humanist marriages gained legal recognition in 2005, and have risen in number from 85 in the first year to over 4,300 in 2015.

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