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Haringey celebrant backs High Court bid to legally recognise humanist marriages

PUBLISHED: 17:50 10 July 2020 | UPDATED: 08:00 24 July 2020

Caroline Lambie (centre) at a humanist wedding in Hampshire. Picture: Jackson and Co Photography

Caroline Lambie (centre) at a humanist wedding in Hampshire. Picture: Jackson and Co Photography

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A Haringey celebrant has voiced her support for six couples in their High Court bid to win legal recognition for humanist marriages.

A humanist ceremony in North Finchley. Picture: Josh Dicker WeddingsA humanist ceremony in North Finchley. Picture: Josh Dicker Weddings

Caroline Lambie of Crouch End, who for 10 years has performed humanist weddings – more ‘flexible’, non-religious ceremonies – says their lack of recognition in England and Wales is an infringement of human rights.

Humanist marriages were legalised in Scotland in 2005 and in Northern Ireland in 2018.

The High Court hearing took place on July 7 and 8 with Judge Justice Eady reserving her decision for a later, unspecified date.

On opposition that humanist ceremonies face, Caroline said: “Nothing has been against it, it’s more that there has always been an excuse, there’s always something.”

Picture: Josh Dicker WeddingsPicture: Josh Dicker Weddings

According to data from the Office for National Statistics, humanist ceremonies have increased by 266 per cent to more than 1,050 a year in England and Wales, overtaking Jewish and Baptist marriages.

Caroline said most couples will become legally married through a civil ceremony a day or two before their celebration, but this adds extra cost and stress.

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“They don’t want to have a civil ceremony because it’s very black and white, they don’t have much choice of what they want to do.

A humanist ceremony in North Finchley. Picture: Josh Dicker WeddingsA humanist ceremony in North Finchley. Picture: Josh Dicker Weddings

“They can only choose a certain amount of readings and they haven’t got a choice of what they would like to include.

“My philosophy of the weddings I do is to make them deeply personal, meaningful and beautiful.

“That’s how they always turn out to be, however elaborate the place they have them is.”

Caroline had a humanist wedding herself in Scotland shortly after it was legalised there.

Caroline Lambie (centre) at a humanist wedding in Hampshire. Picture: Jackson and Co PhotographyCaroline Lambie (centre) at a humanist wedding in Hampshire. Picture: Jackson and Co Photography

“The other thing about a humanist ceremony is that generally you’re not restricted to where you can have them,” she said.

“In Scotland now, humanist celebrants can commit a ceremony anywhere they want.”

Caroline says humanism goes beyond non-belief.

She said: “It’s having the values of love and respect for the world and it has an ecological viewpoint, so it’s a very positive viewpoint as well as not believing in any deity.”


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