This summer, the Humanist Society Scotland celebrated a decade of the legalisation of Humanist wedding ceremonies in Scotland. The HSS believes that the ceremonies are now the most popular type of ceremony in the country.
Gordon MacRae, of the HSS said Humanist weddings – which are still not legally binding in England and Wales – were a “great Scottish success story”. He estimates there will be 4,200 humanist weddings by the end of 2015, more than Church of Scotland ceremonies.
However, weddings in the Christian faith, when all denominations are taken into account, should still be a higher figure than Humanist weddings.
Last year, about half of all weddings in Scotland were civil ceremonies carried out by an official registrar. All others are classed as religious or belief ceremonies. Religious marriages in Scotland were never restricted by location, unlike civil ceremonies which were always in a register office before a 2002 change allowed other “approved places”.
In 2005 the Registrar General for Scotland decided, after considering the European Convention on Human Rights, to allow humanists to conduct weddings as “authorised celebrants” – giving them equal status with ministers of religion.