Humanist Weddings on the Rise in Scotland

Good news from Scotland today: new figures show that Humanist wedding ceremonies are on the rise in Scotland. Not only that but religious wedding ceremonies are in decline. The figures have been published as part of a broader policy of support for gay marriage ahead of the Humanist Society Scotland’s annual general meeting which takes place in Glasgow on Sunday. Scotland has a proud heritage of unbelief and rightly champions David Hume as one of the fathers of modern skeptical philosophy.

Just over 2000 humanist wedding ceremonies were conducted last year, an increase of 31% on the previous year. That’s already more than Catholic ceremonies and quickly approaching the 6,000 Church of Scotland ceremonies that occurred the previous year. Most Scots chose to have a civil ceremony with no religious affiliation. This, coupled with the rise in Humanist weddings, means the Humanist Society Scotland now believes half of all Scots are non-religious. It is not just the weddings that have seen a growth in popularity, there has also been a rise in the number of Humanist funerals and baby naming ceremonies.

Most of this growth can be traced back to 2005 when the Registrar General authorized Humanists to conduct these types of services. Civil marriages have been available for a very long time, but people usually like to retain a sense of the pomp and ceremonial aspect of a traditional wedding. This is a role I feel Humanism in general supports very well. It allows for the grand sense of occasion at important moments in peoples’ lives, dignifying them in a way that a civil servant writing your name in a book can’t really capture. All of this without the superstition religion brings to the table.

About Mark Turner

Mark Turner was born and raised as a Catholic in the North East of England, UK. He attended two Catholic schools between the ages of five and sixteen. A product of a moderate Catholic upbringing and an early passion for science first resulted in religious apathy and by mid-teens outright disbelief.


  • GodVlogger (on YouTube)

    Well-done infographic!

  • Robster

    What’s that noise I can hear? Oh, it’s the catholic church imploding…good.

  • grneyedmonster

    That’s beautiful!

  • chicago dyke

    graphics like this make it really clear what this is all about. churches want and need to control “the most important” moments in life. once, that included birth, baptism/entry into a congregation, first adulthood rites, marriage, death, and a few other markers that have more and more become of a wider province. they desperately cling to controlling marriage because it’s a lynchpin to sustained membership, and without it the reasons to be affiliated with a church approach zero.

    what amuses me is that once equality is enshrined in law all over the place, you just watch how fast these con artists change their minds/the mind of ‘god.’ because $$$! if all the ‘work’ they can get is marriages, funerals, and some ‘family affirming’ rite, you betcha they’ll line up to cash those checks. “homosexual? no problem! that’ll be 500 pounds.”

  • pagansister

    YES! Seems like Scotland is on the right track—–

  • Bob

    Meanwhile in England, Humanist weddings still aren’t recognised by law. That hardly seems fair. I wonder how quickly the rate of Humanist marriages would rise here, if you didn’t also have to go to a registry office.

    It’s wonderful to see the level of support for gay marriage in Scotland. I think it’s only a matter of a few more year before it becomes law, and about bloody time too, since it’s clear what the public want.

  • SeekerLancer

    The march of progress continues on.

  • Anon

    Where’s New Zealand on that map? And Australia? But mostly New Zealand :(