The UK’s first Pagan same-sex wedding took place in Edinburgh, Scotland on Sunday as Tom Lanting (34) and Iain Robertson (39) tied the knot.
The couple, who have been together for 12 years, are both Hedge Witches and live in Edinbrugh. They were married in front of family and friends in the 16th century vaulted cellars of Marlin’s Wynd by Louise Park, Presiding Officer for the Pagan Federation (Scotland).
The ceremony encompassed ancient Pagan traditions including casting a circle, invoking the elements of earth, air, water, fire and spirit, exchanging rings, sharing a quaich of mead, binding the couple’s hands (known as Handfasting), and jumping the broom.
Scotland is the only part of the UK that allows Pagan and other minority religious and belief bodies to solemnise legal marriages. The Pagan Federation (Scotland) has been able to conduct hundreds of legal mixed-sex marriages since 2005. The body is the largest umbrella organisation supporting the Pagan community in Scotland, and currently has 10 legal marriage celebrants located across the country, from Orkney to the Borders, and Argyll to Tayside.
Following the passage of the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014 the Pagan Federation (Scotland) were one of the religious and belief organisations that opted-in to conducting gay marriages.
Other religious and belief organisations that have already opted-in to conducting same-sex marriages in Scotland include the Unitarians, the Quakers, the Metropolitan Community Church, the Liberal Jewish community, the Open Episcopal Church in Scotland, the Humanist Society Scotland, various other smaller Humanist bodies, and One Spirit Interfaith Foundation. A number of these bodies are also expected to conduct same-sex weddings in the coming months.
Speaking after their marriage ceremony, Tom and Iain 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.”
Louise Park, Tom and Iain’s marriage celebrant and Presiding Officer for The Pagan Federation (Scotland), stated: “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.
“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, of Equality Network, commented: “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.”
In February, Scotland became the 17th Country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage and the law came into effect on 16 December 2014.