A CUMBRIAN celebrant is showing his support for a High Court case for legal recognition of humanist marriages.

Six couples are going to the High Court on July 7-8 to take on a landmark challenge over the legal recognition of humanist marriages.

Their case is being supported by celebrant Robert Maddock, who offers humanist wedding ceremonies in Furness and the Lake District, and is accredited by Humanists UK to do so.

A humanist wedding is a non-religious ceremony conducted by a humanist celebrant who shares the beliefs and values of the couple. It differs from a civil wedding in that it is entirely personalised and reflective of the humanist beliefs and values of the couple.

Humanists UK has provided these ceremonies for many decades, and in England and Wales, over 1,000 couples a year have a humanist wedding.

Humanist Robert Maddock said: “People choose humanist weddings for a number of reasons. They may not be religious themselves or they may come from mixed heritages and find a non-religious ceremony suits both of their families. They may find that traditional wedding ceremonies do not match their lifestyles and choices. For many, a civil register office ceremony seems impersonal and so they choose the flexibility offered by Humanists UK celebrants. All of my couples simply want to marry and profess their love to each other in a way that meets with their personal beliefs. However, the laws in England and Wales are unfair and have failed to keep up with those in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Jersey where humanist weddings are legal. This High Court case aims to rectify this.”

Humanists UK chief executive Andrew Copson said: “Couples who have humanist weddings see that day as the epitome of their love and commitment to each other, and all they want is the same legal recognition for that as is given to every religious person in our country. We have tried for decades to address this glaring double standard. Government has dragged its heels and that’s why it’s been left to these couples to bring this case. As more and more non-religious couples choose to have humanist weddings, we need a law that works for all people who want to marry.”