A HUMANIST celebrant from Haworth is this week backing a landmark legal challenge in the High Court.

Dawn Thewlis is supporting six couples as they fight for a change in the law so that humanist weddings are legally recognised.

She has written and conducted such ceremonies for the past three years.

“Couples who want a personalised non-religious wedding tend to class the required register office ceremony as just an unnecessary and unwanted event that takes their time and money – but is currently essential to be legally married,” she said.

“They consider the humanist ceremony to be the real wedding, as it is written with care to create real meaning in the way that each individual couple wish to express their love and commitment to each other.

“I have conducted weddings at some lovely venues including village halls, hotels, pubs and in gardens and at specialist wedding woodlands – some holding great significance for the couple. Each one has been very special in its own way.

“I would welcome the legal recognition of humanist weddings now – we have waited for many years. It would simply make it fair for the non-religious to have the wedding they want and for the vows they take there to have the recognition they should have.

“The Covid-19 situation very topically highlights the annoyance and difficulties of having to do the legal aspect of a marriage separately from the main humanist wedding. Due to cancellations and also backlogs at the register office now, the two ceremonies could be held months apart.”

At the High Court, lawyers for the couples will argue that the current law discriminates against them because of their humanist beliefs and is therefore incompatible with human rights legislation. They say humanist weddings should be legally-recognised marriages as is the case in Scotland and Northern Ireland.