A Battersea woman is calling on the Government to make Humanist weddings legal in the UK.

Jeanne Rathbone is a Humanist celebrant, a person who performs secular celebracy services for weddings, funerals, child namings, coming of age ceremonies and other rituals.

Mrs Rathbone has been performing these non-religious weddings for 20 years and believes it is unjust that humanist weddings are still not legal in the UK, except for in Scotland.

The only legally recognised non-religious wedding ceremonies available to people in England, Northern Ireland and Wales must be performed in a registrar office.

Jeanne said: “I have written again to Jane Ellison our MP about Humanist celebrants being recognised as wedding registrars just as vicars, priest, Imams etc are.

“It’s been three years since the Marriage Act gave the Government powers to do so but nothing has happened.”

If Jeanne could go back in time before marriage came into law she admits she would have it so that everyone had a civil ceremony and then celebrated in whatever way they saw fit afterwards.

She also does not marry virgins, saying it would be “irrational” and not in line with the values of humanism that a couple that wanted to make such a huge commitment to each other had not slept together.

Humanism is a belief system that gives weight to the agency and value of human beings as opposed to higher powers and a Humanist wedding is a personalised, non-religious ceremony that can be performed anywhere and in whatever way the couple would prefer.

However, due to UK marriage laws, the couple must also have a ceremony in a registrar office to make the marriage legally binding.

This Is Local London:
There are hundreds of Humanist celebrants across the UK

Currently in the UK, religious weddings can take place in any registered religious building, such as churches, mosques, and premises belonging to Scientologists.

Humanist weddings have been legally recognised in Scotland since 2005 and in Ireland since 2013.

The Marriage Act gave the UK Government powers to legalise the ceremonies in 2013 but it was blocked in Parliament on the grounds that it was a “fringe” issue.

The British Humanist Association (BHA) described the move as “shameless”.

The BHA said: “Giving legal recognition to humanist marriages is a simple measure which adversely affects no one, has huge popular and political support, and would increase the number of people getting married each year.”

Humanist weddings surpassed the number of Church of Scotland weddings in 2016, which have halved in the last decade.

Ms Rathborn thinks it unlikely the Government will do anything about this as “they don’t think it will get them any votes”.