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What God has not joined together: Humanist weddings in Scotland now outnumber Christian ones

exchemist

Veteran Member
Completely disagree.
Marriage is a contract, and people should be trained to properly execute it. That's it.

If those people are religious, or non-religious, I could care less, and choice in the matter is great.

But the 'trustworthiness' of the organisation doesn't impact on the knowledge of the individual providing the service.
Just have a licensing requirement.

Full disclosure, I was married in a non-religious ceremony held at a winery. It was a pretty traditional wedding in a lot of ways, if you take out all mention of God, or churches. We had readings, etc.

We didn't have to go separately to a registry office, or jump through some other hoop. We just got married.
My point is nothing to do with where it is done. It concerns by whom it is done.

Somebody brought the papers, checked the witnesses were there, made sure you both understood what you were signing, ensured all the requisite signatures were obtained and took responsibility for filing the papers with the registry authorities. That would have been somebody acting in a licensed capacity, because scam marriages and forced marriages are far from unknown. They don't just licence anyone who asks. So who was this licensed person, in your case? Someone from the Town Hall, perhaps?
 

exchemist

Veteran Member
All Humanist Celebrants are fully trained, certified and regularly 'audited'; they have more training and in particular refresher training than most religious officials.
You imply that Humanists are not reputable - where on earth does that come from.

England is backward in this, it should have happened years ago; grief even Northern Ireland allow it.
I'm not implying anything of the kind.

All I'm pointing out is that licences to conduct marriages are controlled, to avoid abuses and and legal problems, which has the consequence that only certain classes of people have been allowed licences, up to now. One might equally be shocked that officials of the Rotary Club, or the Freemasons, are not licensed to conduct weddings.
 

Secret Chief

nirvana is samsara
TBH, I can't see that exchemist is saying anything contentious. The essential point, I would have thought all would agree, is that the wedding (or civ.part) is conducted by a person recognised as being competent to ensure one is actually married at the end of the ceremony and to prevent (hopefully) sham marriages.
I and my partner have just been for our appointment with the registrar. We have to provide stuff like birth certs, old marriage certs and divorce paperwork. We had to declare and sign paperwork confirming our identity and that we were both free to enter into a civil partnership and are doing so of our own free choice. All this I would expect. I know it's all legit and I really will be hitched and the authorities are hopefully satisfied we aren't doing it for dubious reasons (which does occur). I'd not want this service provided by what I would consider a third party individual or organisation, whoever that person or organisation was.
 

exchemist

Veteran Member
TBH, I can't see that exchemist is saying anything contentious. The essential point, I would have thought all would agree, is that the wedding (or civ.part) is conducted by a person recognised as being competent to ensure one is actually married at the end of the ceremony and to prevent (hopefully) sham marriages.
I and my partner have just been for our appointment with the registrar. We have to provide stuff like birth certs, old marriage certs and divorce paperwork. We had to declare and sign paperwork confirming our identity and that we were both free to enter into a civil partnership and are doing so of our own free choice. All this I would expect. I know it's all legit and I really will be hitched and the authorities are hopefully satisfied we aren't doing it for dubious reasons (which does occur). I'd not want this service provided by what I would consider a third party individual or organisation, whoever that person or organisation was.
Yes that's it exactly, thanks for clarifying the point.

I've got nothing at all against the Humanist Association. If they can make a case that a significant proportion of people wanting a marriage ceremony want one of theirs, then of course it would make sense for the authorities to consider licensing certain of their officials to do it. Apparently that point has been reached in Scotland. Why it hasn't in England and Wales I don't know, but it is not self-evidently a scandal, it seems to me.
 

lewisnotmiller

Grand Hat
Staff member
Premium Member
My point is nothing to do with where it is done. It concerns by whom it is done.

Somebody brought the papers, checked the witnesses were there, made sure you both understood what you were signing, ensured all the requisite signatures were obtained and took responsibility for filing the papers with the registry authorities. That would have been somebody acting in a licensed capacity, because scam marriages and forced marriages are far from unknown. They don't just licence anyone who asks. So who was this licensed person, in your case? Someone from the Town Hall, perhaps?

Nope. An authorised marriage celebrant. They assist in designing and then performing the ceremony (ie. taking the role of the priest, compared to a religious ceremony) and can handle the legalities as well.

It's all pretty simple.

So, sure, I agree there should be a licensed person running proceedings. But it's not a difficult thing.
 

exchemist

Veteran Member
Nope. An authorised marriage celebrant. They assist in designing and then performing the ceremony (ie. taking the role of the priest, compared to a religious ceremony) and can handle the legalities as well.

It's all pretty simple.

So, sure, I agree there should be a licensed person running proceedings. But it's not a difficult thing.
So you mean yep, not nope, then: you had a licensed person to do it.
 

lewisnotmiller

Grand Hat
Staff member
Premium Member
So you mean yep, not nope, then: you had a licensed person to do it.

Sure, but they don't have to belong to a 'trusted organisation'. They are just licenced people. Like a plumber.
You do a Certificate IV in Celebrancy.

Here is the full outline of what's required in Australia.

https://lawpath.com.au/blog/how-to-become-a-marriage-celebrant#:~:text=To become a fully certified marriage celebrant, you,can be obtained at many registered training organisations.

So I meant 'nope'. No-one from town hall was involved. Nor anyone belonging to any sort of organisation. Just a guy who had done the required course. He also presided at a couple of funerals for us.
 

Secret Chief

nirvana is samsara
Hmmmm. We'll agree to differ. "like a plumber" isn't good enough for me.

(PS I read that as "Certificate IV in Celebacy" :D )
 

exchemist

Veteran Member
Sure, but they don't have to belong to a 'trusted organisation'. They are just licenced people. Like a plumber.
You do a Certificate IV in Celebrancy.

Here is the full outline of what's required in Australia.

https://lawpath.com.au/blog/how-to-become-a-marriage-celebrant#:~:text=To become a fully certified marriage celebrant, you,can be obtained at many registered training organisations.

So I meant 'nope'. No-one from town hall was involved. Nor anyone belonging to any sort of organisation. Just a guy who had done the required course. He also presided at a couple of funerals for us.

OK the Town Hall reference is to UK practice as we have a lot of towns, so a town hall registrar is never far away. Ditto in France - and most of Europe I think. But the people you describe are regulated by the state and need a bit of legal training so maybe more like a notary or something than a plumber - unless plumbers are regulated by the state in Australia :eek:...
 

lewisnotmiller

Grand Hat
Staff member
Premium Member
OK the Town Hall reference is to UK practice as we have a lot of towns, so a town hall registrar is never far away. Ditto in France - and most of Europe I think. But the people you describe are regulated by the state and need a bit of legal training so maybe more like a notary or something than a plumber - unless plumbers are regulated by the state in Australia :eek:...

Heh...well, plumbers here are registered, but the licensing part is optional.
Still, licensed plumbers need to complete a set of common courses
  • BSBSMB401A Establish legal and risk management requirements of small business
  • CPCPCM4011A Carry out work based risk control processes
  • CPCPCM4012A Estimate and cost work
These are often done as part of a Certificate IV in plumbing although it doesn't have to be that way. So...Cert IV in Celebrancy, or a Cert IV in Plumbing.
Pretty similar here...

As for the town hall thing...I get what you mean. I haven't been to the UK, but I've been to Europe quite a few times.
More than criticism I was just profoundly surprised. It seems so natural to me that a couple can get married using a civil celebrant, and all the legalities, etc are handled on the spot...just as they would be if getting married in a church by a priest.

I had assumed that was the same in England, but...seems not.

PS. Town Hall makes sense here too. Traditionally, each of our suburbs would have one, but local government has been somewhat rationalised over the years (depending on which part of Australia you live in) so there can be several suburbs together with a singe 'town hall' servicing them. We tend to call them 'Council Offices' these days, but the older ones are very much thought of as town halls.
 

exchemist

Veteran Member
Heh...well, plumbers here are registered, but the licensing part is optional.
Still, licensed plumbers need to complete a set of common courses
  • BSBSMB401A Establish legal and risk management requirements of small business
  • CPCPCM4011A Carry out work based risk control processes
  • CPCPCM4012A Estimate and cost work
These are often done as part of a Certificate IV in plumbing although it doesn't have to be that way. So...Cert IV in Celebrancy, or a Cert IV in Plumbing.
Pretty similar here...

As for the town hall thing...I get what you mean. I haven't been to the UK, but I've been to Europe quite a few times.
More than criticism I was just profoundly surprised. It seems so natural to me that a couple can get married using a civil celebrant, and all the legalities, etc are handled on the spot...just as they would be if getting married in a church by a priest.

I had assumed that was the same in England, but...seems not.

PS. Town Hall makes sense here too. Traditionally, each of our suburbs would have one, but local government has been somewhat rationalised over the years (depending on which part of Australia you live in) so there can be several suburbs together with a singe 'town hall' servicing them. We tend to call them 'Council Offices' these days, but the older ones are very much thought of as town halls.
Yes we increasingly use the term "council offices" as well, but Town Hall is a sort of colloquialism - equivalent to the French Mairie. The civil celebrant idea may be something that will catch on in the UK too I suppose, but my impression is the authorities are a bit cagey about letting go too much over here. We do get sham marriages from time to time with false identities and things, sometimes I think to do with trying to acquire residency status and that sort of thing. The Humanist Association is just one particular organisation and I don't know how popular they are for marrying people these days. They are an advocacy group and it sounds to me it is likely to appeal to those who are very definite atheists in their views. It may be that a lot of people don't want to sign up to that, any more than they want to sign up to religious belief. My impression is most do what @Secret Chief is doing: a civil ceremony at the Town Hall and then a knees-up somewhere independently.

In the French weddings I've been to they do the civil one at the Mairie and it's quite nice, with some formality - sometimes the mayor himself does it - and a big tricolore in the corner, but normally for close family only, then off to church for a nuptial mass with everyone, and then a huge party, followed by another informal one the following day, notionally to eat the leftovers...... but actually another party.
 

Altfish

Veteran Member
I'm not implying anything of the kind.

All I'm pointing out is that licences to conduct marriages are controlled, to avoid abuses and and legal problems, which has the consequence that only certain classes of people have been allowed licences, up to now. One might equally be shocked that officials of the Rotary Club, or the Freemasons, are not licensed to conduct weddings.
You are trying to confuse the issue; Humanists have been carrying out ceremonies for many years, they are competent and well trained. You forgot to mention the AA and RSPCA in your strawman argument.
 

exchemist

Veteran Member
You are trying to confuse the issue; Humanists have been carrying out ceremonies for many years, they are competent and well trained. You forgot to mention the AA and RSPCA in your strawman argument.
Haha.

Seriously I'm sure they are and I've nothing against them. See later correspondence in the thread, which may make clearer what I'm trying to say.
 

lewisnotmiller

Grand Hat
Staff member
Premium Member
The Humanist Association is just one particular organisation and I don't know how popular they are for marrying people these days. They are an advocacy group and it sounds to me it is likely to appeal to those who are very definite atheists in their views. It may be that a lot of people don't want to sign up to that, any more than they want to sign up to religious belief. My impression is most do what @Secret Chief is doing: a civil ceremony at the Town Hall and then a knees-up somewhere independently.

Just wanted to touch on this, since it was actually my initial thought when entering this thread.

I wouldn't want a 'Humanist' ceremony or whatever. I don't identify as a Humanist.

I honestly don't know what religion my celebrant was, or if he was not religious.
He ran our wedding religion free, and helped us design the ceremony (our readings were from literature rather than the Bible, etc).

My wife's grandfather passed away and he ran that funeral with just a hint of religion...a shared prayer...again based on what the family had wanted, and how my wife's grandfather lived.
 

Secret Chief

nirvana is samsara
You are trying to confuse the issue; Humanists have been carrying out ceremonies for many years, they are competent and well trained. You forgot to mention the AA and RSPCA in your strawman argument.
Is carrying out the ceremony the full picture? Humanists may have been doing the ceremonies for years but don't the couples have to have an appointment with a Registrar first?
 

Altfish

Veteran Member
Is carrying out the ceremony the full picture? Humanists may have been doing the ceremonies for years but don't the couples have to have an appointment with a Registrar first?
That's exactly what I said.
Couples have to visit the registrar first (or after) to complete the legalities; but a junior member of the clergy can do the legals as well. Why?
 
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