The Humanist Association of Ireland (HAI) has appointed celebrants to offer non-legal marriage ceremonies for over twenty years. However, prior to 2013, Humanists weren’t recognized under the Civil Registration Act to solemnize marriage. HAI campaigned for an amendment before 2002 and began meeting with members of the major political parties.
Senior members of the Labour Party were sympathetic to HAI’s arguments and in 2011 Labour became the junior partner in a new coalition government. With Labour’s support, HAI was able to argue for an amendment and in June 2013 the Dáil and Seanad passed the Civil Registration Amendment Act that added all Humanist Association of Ireland-accredited celebrants to the list of solemnizers.
In 2015, 1264 marriages were performed by HAI celebrants, which accounted for 5.7% of all marriages in the country. In 2016 HAI’s almost 30 celebrants performed nearly 2000 ceremonies.
Private correspondence: Brian Whiteside