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Parliamentary Debates and Questions

S5W-17511: Kezia Dugdale (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 27 June 2018

To ask the ScottishGovernment what plans it has to review the law as it applies to (a) secular celebrants and (b) humanist funerals, weddings, and naming ceremonies.

Answered by: Ash Denham 27 July 2018

Marriages can be solemnised by civil registrars or by celebrants of authorised religious or belief bodies. Paragraph 28 of the Policy Memorandum for the Bill which became the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014 discussed the option of opening up the solemnisation of marriage more widely, to celebrants without any links to religious or belief bodies: http://www.parlamaid.scot/S4_Bills/Marriage%20and%20Civil%20Partnership%20(Scotland)%20Bill/b36s4-introd-pm.pdf Paragraph 28 noted that the Government had rejected that option. This remains the position, for the reasons given in the Policy Memorandum.

The 2014 Act give Ministers the power to lay down qualifying requirements for religious or belief bodies whose celebrants solemnise marriage. This power has not been used although the Scottish Government has issued an initial discussion paper: http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0045/00459045.pdf