For an equal, ethical and secular Labour

Government set to U-turn on equal humanist marriage

December 15th, 2014 | Posted by Editor in Blog | News

We’ve been campaigning for the legal recognition of humanist marriage in England and Wales – something that is already available and increasingly popular in Scotland. Currently, humanist weddings in England and Wales have no legal force of their own, and couples are required to pay a visit to the registry office to make their marriages official. We proudly support the British Humanist Association’s (BHA) long-standing campaign for non-religious people to have the choice of a legal marriage ceremony which reflects their beliefs, just as many religious people do.

Over the past couple of years we have worked to increase awareness of the issue within Labour and to support Labour parliamentarians in their efforts to ensure legislation is passed. In fact, we have been delighted that it has been the Labour front bench in parliament which has spearheaded recent attempts to legalise humanist marriage. Many Labour MPs have also signed a motion supporting humanist marriage.

In July, we welcomed the Government’s agreement to set in motion moves which would see humanist marriages be made lawful in England and Wales, before the General Election.

It is hugely disappointing that the Tory-led Government now appears to have U-turned on that agreement, as Number 10 is reported to be blocking the legal recognition of humanist marriage.

Our asks of Labour

We believe there is everything still to fight for – that the Government could still be convinced to make time for this important legislation in this parliament. While Labour has shown good support so far, it has done so along with colleagues from across parties, with religious and non-religious people. Legalising humanist marriage in England and Wales is not a party political issue.

  1. It’s really important for Labour now to make clear that it will give the Government the time to get the regulations through this side of the election, should it decide to do so.
  2. We would also like Labour publicly to state its commitment to equal humanist marriage – and that it would legalise it should it get the chance after the General Election if the present Government really does go back on its agreement.


Read the BHA’s statement ‘Number 10 intervenes to block humanist marriages‘.

Read more about the broad support for humanist marriage.

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