Scottish Government responds to claims that same-sex marriage will lead to Star Wars inspired Jedi marriages
The Scottish Government has responded to claims that plans for equal marriage in Scotland could also pave the way for Star Wars Jedi marriages.
In the science-fictional movie franchise the Jedi are a monastic organisation with mystical powers.
The Free Church of Scotland, which opposes allowing same-sex couples to marry, has raised the prospect of Jedi-driven ceremonies.
The Scottish Government has been consulting on its draft Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill – with the consultation offically closing to the public on Wednesday 20 March at 5pm.
Along with protecting religious freedom, the consultation also looks at how religious and civil partnership ceremonies could be joined by a new category covering ceremonies performed by organisations that promote a non-religious belief.
Free Church of Scotland spokesman Reverend Iver Martin told the BBC: “The third category is quite astonishing because it is the so-called belief category without really defining what belief means.
“There are loads of people in a diverse society like this for whom belief can mean virtually anything – the Flat Earth Society and Jedi Knights Society – who knows?
“I am not saying that we don’t give place to that kind of personal belief, but when you start making allowances for marriages to be performed within those categories then you are all over the place.”
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In response, a spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said: “Our current consultation covers not only the introduction of same-sex marriage but also the detail of important protections in relation to religious bodies and celebrants, freedom of speech and education.
“As part of the consultation we have outlined the reason for suggesting a third type of ceremony.
“At the moment, marriage ceremonies by bodies such as humanists have been classed as religious, even though the beliefs of such organisations are non-religious.”
The spokeswoman stressed the importance of maintaining the reputation of marriage in Scotland and added: “We are proposing the introduction of tests which a religious or belief body would have to meet before they could be authorised to solemnise marriage.”
According to 2011 census figures, the number of people in England and Wales who claim to be Jedi stands at 176,632.
In the 2001 census in Scotland, 14,052 people stated that Jedi was their current religion.
Patrick Day-Childs, spokesman for the UK’s Church of Jediism said there was demand for Jedi to bless marriages and added that the Free Church of Scotland should not be threatened by that.
“We’re open to all forms of marriage and the joining of two people who love each other in anyway shape or form,” said Mr Day-Childs.
More: equal marriage, Free Church of Scotland, gay marriage, gay weddings, jedi, marriage, Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill, marriage equality, same sex weddings, Scotland, Scotland, scottish government, star wars