Stephen Fry and Sandi Toksvig urge Labour to recognise humanist weddings if elected

Stephen Fry and Sandi Toksvig have called on the Labour Party to grant legal recognition of humanist weddings in England and Wales if they win the upcoming general election. 

The TV stars, both patrons of Humanists UK, made similar demands to the government last year, backed by a number of LGBTQ+ groups.

Humanist weddings are a type of non-religious ceremony. Within the UK, they are only legally recognised in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands of Jersey and Guernsey.

After a year of inaction by the government, Toksvig, who recently opened up about how “ongoing” death threats have affected her over the years, and Fry, who announced in December that he was set to return to work following a six-foot fall on to concrete, have now extended their call to the Labour Party

In an open letter to Labour leader Keir Starmer, the LGBTQ+ presenters called for the “immediate legal recognition of humanist marriages in England and Wales”. 

The letter went on to say: “We are doing so following new statistics showing that 63 per cent of people who said on the census [that] they are lesbian, gay or bisexual, ticked ‘No religion’. 

“As the law currently stands, if a couple wants a humanist wedding, they must undergo a second, unwanted civil ceremony to be married in the eyes of the law. This entails a significant financial and administrative burden. Considering the census figures, this is an all-the-more unacceptable state of affairs. 

“If the UK wants to be a global leader when it comes to promoting the freedoms of LGBTQ+ people, it must recognise humanist marriages in England and Wales.” 

Adding his voice, Humanists UK chief executive Andrew Copson said: “Legal recognition of humanist marriages would be good for couples, good for marriage and good for the economy. It would strengthen freedom of religion or belief and level England and Wales up to Scotland and Northern Ireland.

“It is what the public wants and it is long overdue.” 

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