Pagan weddings are now recognized in Ireland Photo by: Google Images

Irish government to give full legal status to Pagan weddings


Pagan weddings are now recognized in Ireland Photo by: Google Images

Non-religious and Pagan weddings are to finally become law in Ireland under proposed new legislation.

The Irish government is expected to back legislation giving humanists the same status as organised religions and civil registrars in conducting marriage ceremonies.

The Irish Times reports that  the proportion of couples choosing a non-religious, civil wedding ceremony in Ireland has increased from six per cent in 1996 to more than 23 per cent in 2006.

Social Protection minister Joan Burton is to ask ministerial colleagues to support the Civil Registration (Amendment) Bill.

The paper reports that the legislation was introduced as a Private Members’ Bill by Trinity College Senator Ivana Bacik. It is due to pass final stages in the Upper House of the Irish parliament on Wednesday.

The new legislation proposes to amend the Civil Registration Act 2004, which regulates the registration of civil marriages according to the paper.

It states that the existing 2004 Act stipulates that, apart from Health Service Executive registrars, only a member of a ‘religious body’ may celebrate legal marriages.

A ‘religious body’ is defined as: “An organised group of people, members of which meet regularly for common religious worship.”

The current law includes the Pagan Federation Ireland and the Spiritualist Union of Ireland, both of whom have obtained registration under the Act.

It excludes members of the Humanist Association of Ireland, who currently conduct humanist wedding ceremonies even though these are illegal.

The new bill also proposes to extend the right to conduct civil marriages to nonreligious groups such as the HAI.

Any group of this nature must be a ‘philosophical and non-confessional body’, have been performing marriage ceremonies for at least five years, and at least 20 couples must have participated in the ceremony according to the proposed bill.

HAI spokesman Brian Whiteside told the Irish Times: “In the past, we have been left out in the cold but we persisted in efforts to obtain the right to solemnise marriages and have parity of esteem with religious bodies.

“There had been no real progress until the change of government last year.

“As the law stands presently a couple cannot have a legally binding, nonreligious marriage ceremony on a Saturday, as the State registrars work only Monday to Friday.”

The HAI has nine accredited celebrants who conducted 153 marriage ceremonies last year.


Log in with your social accounts:

Or, log in with your IrishCentral account:

Forgot your password ?

Don't have an account yet? Register now !

Join IrishCentral with your social accounts:

Already have an account ?

For Newsletter Subscribers – Draw for 1 Prize on December 31st.

Prize: Your Piece of Ireland – a Square of Land in the heart of the Glens of Antrim, Ireland

More details here (or you can buy a little piece of Ireland directly): http://bit.ly/1zew9ox

Terms & Conditions

Or, sign up for an IrishCentral account below:

By clicking above you are indicating that you have read & agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.

Make sure we gathered the correct information from you

By clicking above you are indicating that you have read & agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.

You already have an account on IrishCentral! Please confirm you're the owner.

Our new policy requires our users to save a first and last name. Please update your account: