Humanist 'belief' marriages could be introduced in Scotland
Humanist weddings could be introduced in Scotland as an alternative to religious and civil ceremonies. Under these plans the Scottish government wants to create a third category of marriage, called “belief” marriages.
Plans to legalise the new category are highlighted in a consultation paper on the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill, which also contains proposals to introduce same-sex “marriage”.
Currently, there are two types of marriage ceremony in Scotland: civil and religious.
Since June 2005, celebrants belonging to the Humanist Society of Scotland have been authorised on a temporary basis to conduct marriages.
The draft Bill aims to alter the practice of marriages being classed as “religious” under marriage law, despite the beliefs of such organisations being non-religious.
Under the proposals, the arrangements for authorising “belief” celebrants would be along the same lines as those for authorising religious celebrants.
The proposals also set out the arrangements for authorising belief celebrants to practice same-sex “marriage”.
Erosion of meaning
“Marriage is a unique institution, being the life-long union of one man and one woman. It is the fundamental building block of our society and has been so for hundreds of years, bringing stability and security. It is good for the individuals, good for children and good for society,” said Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of Christian Concern.
“Redefining marriage in whatever way erodes its meaning and is to the detriment of society. It’s in everyone’s interest that the State should continue to value and promote it as between a man and a woman”.