Islanders wanted to train as Humanist celebrants

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States Members are due to vote on new marriage equality legislation on 30 January, which, if passed, would also make Humanist weddings legal in Jersey.

In preparation for the new law, which has been passed in principle and is currently being reviewed by Scrutiny, the Humanists UK society is visiting Jersey to hold training courses in February and March.

Deputy Louise Doublet, a member of Humanists UK, said that she fully supported the move.

‘I was a Humanist before I was a States Member and I have been campaigning for Humanist ceremonies in Jersey for some time,’ she said.

‘I think it [the draft marriage proposition] will be passed at the end of the month and it gives people more choice over marriage in Jersey.’

Scotland saw a huge increase in Humanist weddings after they were made legal in 2005, with 85 ceremonies held in the first year and nearly 5,000 in 2016 – making them more popular than traditional Church of Scotland weddings. Deputy Doublet expects to see a similar trend in Jersey.

‘People are becoming less religious, but Humanism fills a vacuum and is important for bringing together people who have similar beliefs and ethics,’ she said.

‘It’s not just about an absence of religion – as is the case with civil services – it’s about creating a meaningful day for couples. I think having Humanist marriages in Jersey will strengthen the institution of marriage.’

Isabel Russo, head of ceremonies at Humanists UK, said that several people had already signed up to the course.

‘We want to keep it bespoke because the first trainees will be the vanguard for Humanist ceremonies in Jersey,’ she said.

‘When it comes to important milestones in our lives, people used to default to what their parents did, which was to get married in a church. But rather than crossing their fingers behind their backs in a church, people now prefer something authentic to them.’

Ms Russo said that Humanist marriages differed from civil wedding services in that they were more personal and more lenient on religious references.

‘In a civil ceremony, you are not allowed any references to religion at all but we allow cultural references. For example, a couple might want to play a hymn that they love because it was sung at a rugby game where they first met. But we would not allow a hymn to be sung as an act of worship.

‘A celebrant will meet the couple a few times before the wedding and spend several hours with them – there’s a real relationship there and we always work with the couple to find out what works best for them. It’s a creative process and it really pays off on the day.’

Anyone interested in training as a Humanist Celebrant should visit

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