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Opening the Way for Legal Marriages for Humanists in Ireland


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Humanist Voices)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2018/07/25

There has been an Appeal Court ruling in Ireland, according to Raidió Teilifís Éireann.

The humanists have been hailing this as a significant transition in the movement for the rights of the non-religious in the area of partnerships. There was a failure to have the current ban declared a breach of human rights. Although, a reasonable argument could be claimed there.

As reported, “A model and international footballer, who won the right to have a lawful humanist wedding in Northern Ireland last year, failed to uphold a judicial declaration that the existing prohibition is incompatible with human rights legislation.”

Laura Lacole went with her husband, who is Eunan O’Kane. O’Kane is a Leeds United and Republic of Ireland star. Lacole considers the judgment still a win for the humanist community.

It is positive in the sense of moving the dial more and more with precedence to push for humanist marriages. The Appeal Court judges — three of them — found the prohibition on humanist celebrants in Northern Ireland, which are legally-binding ceremonies, discriminatory.

“However, they stopped short of declaring the law incompatible with human rights, explaining that an existing provision enabling couples to apply for temporary authorisation for celebrants to conduct humanist marriages ‘provides a basis for avoiding such discrimination,’” the article continued.

The court in Belfast stated that the definition of a legal marriage had no need of being expanded in order to incorporate “beliefs” including humanist. Humanist does not count to this court in Belfast.

The article said, “But they indicated the General Register Office (GRO) for Northern Ireland should now look favourably on future applications for temporary authorisations.”

Therefore, even with the loss of the case, Ms. Lacole considered this, on the whole, a move in the progressive direction for Northern Ireland the right for humanist marriages as recognized weddings in the area.


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


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