Humanist marriages overtake Church of Scotland for first time

Humanist marriages overtake Church of Scotland for first time

Lynsey Kidd

A charity promoting rationality and science has become the largest marriage provider in Scotland, according to figures from the National Records of Scotland.

The Humanist Society Scotland (HSS) overtook the Church of Scotland for the first time last year, conducting 3,280 marriages.

Its celebrants saw an eight per cent jump in ceremonies in 2017, compared to a 14 per cent fall for the Church.

The Kirk conducted 16,849 marriages in 1975, the largest of any organisation, which compared to 13,906 civil ceremonies that year. Last year Church of Scotland marriages were down to 3,166 while the Humanist Society Scotland’s officiated at 3,283 weddings.

As for Roman Catholic marriages, there were 1,182 last year, compared to 6,002 in 1975.

Lynsey Kidd, HSS director of services, said: “These latest statistics are a major vote of confidence in the charity’s meaningful and personal ceremonies.

“These numbers also reflect a wider trend of a decline in religious identity within the Scottish population. While it is important to recognise that faith plays an important part in a significant number of people’s lives.

“Scotland has become a nation where it is now the norm, not the exception, to have a non-religious Humanist approach to life.”

Reverend Norman Smith, of the Church of Scotland, said: “Along with our sister churches, the majority of religious or belief–based marriages in Scotland today continue to be from the Christian faith.

“Whilst the rise of secularism means that fewer people may choose a religious ceremony, many people still find it meaningful to acknowledge the place of faith in their lives at such an important occasion.”

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