Seeking Secular Marriage

A Letter to BC Political Party Leaders for the 2020 Provincial Election

Dear Party Leaders,

I am president of Kelowna Atheists, Skeptics and Humanists Association and a member of the BC Humanists and I live in Kelowna.

Here in British Columbia, there is a growing number of people like myself who derive their ethics through a rational and reasonable thought process, a respect for the scientific process, and empathy for others.

This growing group of people call themselves secular humanists and many secular people often align themselves with this philosophy.

Humanism is a non-religious ethical philosophy that encourages all of us to work toward a more compassionate, respectful, and equitable world.

It is our desire for equity that we request the BC government to amend the Marriage Act to allow for Humanist Marriage Officiants.

The only way for secular couples to get married through a non-religious process is by obtaining a government appointed marriage commissioner.

Marriage commissioners are required to use specific language in their ceremonies that is set out in the Act, they cannot provide planning or consultation services, and they must live in the community where they perform the service. It is very discriminatory for Humanists and secular people not to be able to control their own ceremonies while religious groups can determine how they conduct their ceremonies.

It is a very small change to the Marriage Act, the BC Legislature could pass an amendment to the Marriage Act to permit Humanist officiants to solemnize marriages. This could be modelled on the exemptions that already exist for First Nations and Doukhobors.

Those of us who live a life using a rational and reasonable thought process and are not religious should have more options to legally minister to our own communities in BC.

Excluding Humanists from officiating marriages is in violation of Section 2(a) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and represents the state violating its duty to religious neutrality.

I would like to know from you, if you would be in favour of, and work towards amending the Marriage Act to allow Humanist Marriage Officiants?

Source: Castenet, Tuesday, October 13, 2020