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Local Judicial Review - Humanist Marriages

Permission granted to humanist marriage challenge

On 10th May 2017 the High Court granted permission to Laura Lacole’s challenge to have her forthcoming humanist marriage legally recognised. 

Ms Lacole is getting married to footballer Eunan O’Kane next month.  Both describe themselves as humanists – a non-religious combination of attitudes and beliefs centred on human experience.  The challenge relates to the General Register Office’s refusal to officially authorise the ceremony due to be conducted by a British Humanist Association celebrant. 

Humanist marriages are legally recognised in Scotland and the Republic of Ireland.  In Northern Ireland a humanist marriage ceremony must also have a separate civil registration for the marriage to be legally recognised.  In granting permission for the case to proceed to a full hearing, Mr Justice Colton said

“It seems to me this is an arguable case and an important matter of public interest has been raised.”

Ms Lacole’s solicitor, Ciarán Moynagh of McLernon Moynagh Solicitors commented

“I’m delighted that Laura and Eunan are one step closer to being able to have the marriage ceremony they really want, and that it is in accordance with their humanist beliefs.”

The challenge is being supported by the British Humanist Association.  Read their article here.

Freedom of Thought, Conscience & Religion, Northern Ireland High Court, Religious Law