Humanist weddings 'on the increase' in Scotland

Martin Reijns and Karen Watts in the UK's first legal humanist ceremony
Image caption The UK's first legal humanist wedding took place in Edinburgh in 2005

The number of humanist wedding ceremonies in Scotland will soon overtake the number of Church of Scotland weddings, it has been claimed.

There are already more humanist weddings than Roman Catholic weddings in Scotland.

It is believed they will overtake Kirk weddings in two years' time.

The Humanist Society of Scotland said that there needed to be greater recognition of an increasingly secular Scotland.

The society, which is holding its annual general meeting this weekend, claims that almost half of Scots are not religious.

Members believe this is why there has been a large rise in humanist wedding, funeral and baby-naming services.

Two years ago the number of humanist weddings overtook Catholic weddings in Scotland, making them the third most popular type of wedding behind civil and Church of Scotland services.

If the trend continues they expect to overtake Kirk weddings by 2015.

The Church of Scotland said many couples continue to begin their married lives with the blessing of a service in the presence of God.

A spokesman added: "The Church of Scotland extends a warm welcome to couples who on reflection choose a time-honoured service which may have been the choice of their parents and grandparents before them."

The Registrar General authorised humanists to conduct services in 2005.

Until then, a second, civil ceremony had to be held to make the marriage legal.

But new legislation in Scotland meant they could take place without a minister or civil registrar.

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