Scotland hosts first same-sex pagan marriage

Scotland, the only legal jurisdiction in the UK to allow pagans to marry, has had its first same-sex pagan marriage as two male witches tied the knot in Edinburgh.

Tom Lanting, 34 and Iain Robertson, 39 were married in Marlin’s Wynd in the capital.

The pair describe themselves as “hedge witches”, who use herbal concoctions to remedy spiritual and physical ailments.

Mr Lanting and Mr Robertson’s ceremony involved traditions including handfasting, where their hands were bound together and the drinking of mead as well as the “jumping of the broom”.

They said: “Getting married in a legal pagan ceremony means so much to both of us.

“The new equal marriage law means that we finally have equal recognition and acceptance of our relationship, and it opens the door for all LGBTI couples to take the same step.

“As hedge witches we always wanted to have a pagan marriage ceremony in line with our beliefs and it was really important to us to be able to share this ceremony with our friends and family.”

The Pagan Federation (Scotland) has been allowed to conduct weddings in Scotland since 2005 and has undertaken hundreds of marriages of heterosexual couples since then.

The ceremony was conducted by the federation’s presiding officer, Louise Park.

She said: “Equality for people of all faiths is something that is very dear to the vast majority of pagans, and the Pagan Federation (Scotland) has made equal marriage for all pagans in Scotland one of our biggest campaigns over the last 10 years.

“We feel that, if any couple wish to, they should be able to make their marriage vows before their own personal Gods, friends and family, in a religious ceremony tailored to suit their own beliefs.

“I am absolutely over the moon to have been able to conduct Scotland’s - and the UK’s - first pagan same-sex marriage for Tom and Iain, who hold a special place in the hearts of Scotland’s pagan community.”

Tom French, policy and public affairs co-ordinator for the Equality Network, said: “We were delighted to be able to attend the UK’s first pagan same-sex marriage.

“Religious and belief groups played an important role in the campaign for equal marriage and this ceremony is a mark of equality and freedom of belief in Scotland.

“The new law was not just about ensuring equality for LGBTI people, but also securing greater freedom of belief for the many religious and belief groups who want to conduct same-sex marriages, in line with their deeply held beliefs, but were previously denied the right to do.

“These groups, and the same-sex couples that want a religious or belief marriage in Scotland, now have their rights respected.”

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