If you are a member of a recognised religion you can have a marriage that is tailored to your beliefs and is recognised in law. If you are an atheist or humanist you are denied that in the UK. Eunan O’Kane and Laura Lacole regard that as a violation of their rights under EU law. In particular, they say that they are being discriminated against on the grounds of their beliefs. The couple took their case to the high court in Belfast yesterday. For further details see this article in the Guardian.
Stoney Fish wishes them well. I am not a legal expert but I suspect Eunan and Laura will have to have a separate civil ceremony to make their wedding legal even if they win their case. But the shockwaves just might trigger a change in the law that, at long last, gives the non-religious equal status with the religious.
- Humanist marriages have been legal in Scotland since 2005 and there are now more humanist weddings there than Church of Scotland marriage ceremonies.
- According to a British Social Attitudes survey carried out in 2014, there are now more people in the UK who have no religion than there are Christians. “The striking thing is the clear sense of the growth of ‘no religion’ as a proportion of the population,” said Stephen Bullivant, senior lecturer in theology and ethics at St Mary’s Catholic University in Twickenham, who analysed data collected through British Social Attitudes surveys over three decades.