The BC Humanist Association launched a petition today calling on the Minister of Health to legalize Humanist marriage in British Columbia.
The Vital Statistics Agency, which is responsible for registering organizations that can solemnize marriages in the province, rejected the Association's request in 2013. However, a freedom of information request showed that Wiccans, Zen Buddhists and even Scientologists have been registered by the Agency.
Earlier this year, the BC Humanist Association published The Case for Humanist Marriage in BC. That report set out the legal barriers that currently prevent the BCHA from performing marriages and how other jurisdictions have empowered Humanists to perform marriages.
The petition calls for Health Minister Adrian Dix to direct the Agency to recognize Humanist and non-theistic worldviews for the purposes of the Marriage Act.
Ian Bushfield, Executive Director, BC Humanist Association:
There's a double standard at play in BC when atheist Buddhists can perform a wedding but atheist Humanists cannot. We're simply calling on the Minister to end this arbitrary discrimination.
Couples are increasingly turning to Humanist groups to recognize their bond and it's time for British Columbia to open that door.
The Association is ultimately calling for changes to be codified in an amendment to the Marriage Act.
A Humanist marriage is a meaningful non-religious ceremony that recognizes and celebrates the personal bond between two unique individuals. In Scotland, Humanist marriages are more popular than those performed by the Catholic Church and the Church of Scotland. They are also recognized across Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand and even in Ontario.