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Carrick couple join in legal fight for right to a humanist wedding


Legal move: Jenny and Finbar

Legal move: Jenny and Finbar

Legal move: Jenny and Finbar

A humanist couple in Carrickfergus are taking the Government to court in a landmark legal case ahead of their wedding next month.

Jenny McCalmont and Finbar Graham, both 46, plan to marry on July 31 in a humanist ceremony at a beach in Devon where they first holidayed together and where Jenny's parents live.

Humanist weddings, involving a non-religious ceremony, are legal in Northern Ireland and Scotland but are still not considered official in either England or Wales.

With the help of Humanists UK, the case will now be held in the High Court in London on July 7 and 8, with six other humanist couples also taking part.

Even if successful, Finbar and Jenny will still have to wait months before the law is changed.

Finbar told the Belfast Telegraph: "We were at a humanist wedding years ago and it really resonated with us that it was something we would want to do.

"The ideal place for us was the beach in Devon where we had first been on holiday but we soon realised it wasn't legal - we were surprised that Northern Ireland was actually ahead of the game."

The Marriage Act of 2013 allows the Government to enact legal recognition to humanist marriages in England and Wales by secondary legislation, but it has not been progressed.

Over 6,000 humanist couples have since faced a choice of having a second civil marriage ceremony or not being legally wed.

Jenny and Finbar's legal team will argue that the law discriminates against them for their humanist beliefs.

Ciaran Moynagh of Phoenix Law, is part of the couple's legal team. "The time for asking to be accommodated is over. The courts are now the only appropriate and realistic method of moving this issue on," he said.

Belfast Telegraph