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Island’s first humanist wedding takes place

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A JERSEY couple have made history after becoming the first to wed in a non-religious humanist wedding service on the Island.

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The couple, who have chosen to remain anonymous, tied the knot on Friday and are the first to be married in a humanist service following law changes last year. Jersey humanist celebrant Gill Hayes, who conducted the ceremony, said the couple had chosen a humanist marriage because of its personal and bespoke nature.

She added: ‘The couple are extremely private and wanted their wedding to reflect that. They love the deeply personal element that a humanist wedding brings which is why they were so pleased to be able to take advantage of the recent change in legislation.’

Andrew Copson, Humanists UK chief executive, said Jersey was now leading the way in offering a meaningful choice to couples who want a unique humanist wedding.

‘We are delighted to mark this historic occasion of the first legal humanist marriage to take place in Jersey after years of our campaigning to change the law. We expect there to be a surge in more people on the Island who want a humanist wedding.’

Humanist weddings are non-religious ceremonies which reflect the human beliefs of the couple and are conducted by a celebrant who shares their values. Mrs Hayes was one of 13 celebrants sworn in at the Royal Court on 21 December 2018 to conduct wedding ceremonies at non-religious venues in Jersey.

Previously, only staff in the Office of the Superintendent Registrar could conduct non-religious ceremonies.

Humanist marriages have legal recognition in Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland. In England and Wales, over 1,000 couples a year already have non-legal humanist wedding ceremonies, but these do not carry legal recognition.

Humanists UK is working to bring about legal recognition of humanist marriages in England, Wales and Guernsey.

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