Humanist marriages gain legal recognition in Guernsey

22 April, 2021

Gary Vaudin conducting the wedding of Emily March and Ollie Power on the Island of Herm, prior to the recent change in the law. Photo shared with permission from the couple and photographer.

Humanist marriages have gained legal recognition in Guernsey, and Gary Vaudin, the first humanist celebrant, has been authorised to perform and solemnise marriage ceremonies throughout the Bailiwick. Channel Islands Humanists has expressed delight at the news.

A humanist wedding is a non-religious ceremony conducted by a humanist celebrant who shares the beliefs and values of the couple. It differs from a civil wedding in that it is entirely personalised and reflective of the humanist beliefs and values of the couple.

The new law passed through the States Assembly in November last year, before gaining royal sanction last month. Gary has since been authorised by the state to conduct legally recognised marriages. The law applies across Guernsey, Alderney, and Sark. It brings the Bailiwick into line with Jersey, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland. It leaves just England, Wales, and the Isle of Man to extend legal recognition.

Gary Vaudin, who is also a committee member of Channel Islands Humanists, commented:

‘I first became a Humanists UK wedding celebrant in 1998 – Guernsey’s first – and since then we have been campaigning for legal recognition of humanist marriages. In 2017 the Guernsey States of Deliberation (the Island’s Government and Parliament) decided to undertake that reform, and we’ve been pleased to work with them since to bring that to fruition. I’m delighted to have now been accredited as Guernsey’s first humanist celebrant and look forward to conducting the first legally recognised humanist marriages in June.’

It is hoped that further humanist celebrants will gain the power to conduct legally recognised marriages in due course.

Notes:

For further comment or information, please contact Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson at press@humanists.uk or phone 020 7324 3072 or 07534 248 596.

Couples wishing to have a humanist wedding with Gary can get in touch by emailing him at gjv@cwgsy.net or phoning 07700 706215 or 01481 235231.

Gary has made an image of him conducting the wedding of Emily March and Ollie Power on Herm available to the press, with permission from the photographer and couple. The wedding predated the legal recognition of humanist marriages.

Read more about our work on humanist marriages.

Channel Islands Humanists is a part of Humanists UK. Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by 100,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefitting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.