In the House of Lords this afternoon, 11 peers from all major parties questioned the Government on its failure to legally recognise humanist marriages in England and Wales. This follows the Government’s decision in March to make outdoor civil and religious marriages permanent, but not humanist marriages. Humanists UK leads the campaign for the legal recognition of humanist marriages. It welcomed the calls made by peers today. But it expressed its disappointment that the Government continues to refuse immediate reform.
During oral questions, the cross-party peers pressed the Government on why it still hasn’t given humanist couples the right to marry in line with their beliefs. The Government argued that it won’t take any action until the Law Commission has reported on its ongoing review into marriage law, because of inconsistencies around marriage venue laws. This is despite it having the power to legally recognise humanist marriages under existing laws since 2013. As highlighted by Baroness Meacher, this would give humanists the exact same rights to marry as those already enjoyed by the Quakers and Jewish groups.