Independent Celebrants in Scotland are recommending an amendment to the country’s equal marriage bill to allow celebrants to perform legal marriage ceremonies as part of the legislation.
Under the Marriage and Civil Partnerships Bill, registrars, religious officiants or humanists will be able to marry couples, including those of the same-sex.
The Scottish Independent Celebrants’ Association (SICA) arguest that anyone should be able to marry without signing up to a religious or secular group in order for them to perform a marriage for them.
They note examples of situations in which couples wanting to marry may be at a disadvantage if they want more personalised weddings, or are non-religious but wish to incorporate elements of a religious ceremony into their own (for example hymns, which humanists would not allow).
The recommendation from SICA reads: “We would propose that in addition to allowing humanist celebrants the legal right to marry couples, that professional, regulated, independent celebrants are also accorded this right, and so allow ALL couples to have access to services that are meaningful to them, recognising that the dignity and solemnity of marriage comes from the personal beliefs of the couple.”
At present, SICA performs “wedding ceremonies” (which it expresses in quotation marks), which consist of the couple having a civil ceremony conducted by a registrar, and then a further ceremony conducted by SICA afterwards.
After a heated debate, the Marriage and Civil Partnerships Bill was passed with a large majority of 98 votes to 15. 5 members abstained.