Legislative parity of ‘religious’ and ‘belief’: does this protect non-religious beliefs?

Belton, F. (2022) Legislative parity of ‘religious’ and ‘belief’: does this protect non-religious beliefs? In: Zwilling, A.-L. and Årsheim, H. (eds.) Nonreligion in Late Modern Societies: Institutional and Legal Perspectives. Series: Boundaries of Religious Freedom: Regulating Religion in Diverse Societies. Springer: Cham, pp. 33-47. ISBN 9783030923945 (doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-92395-2_3)

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In 2014 Scotland took the opportunity to address inequalities within the marriage system. Most of the publicity surrounded the introduction of same-sex marriage via the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014. More significantly, for the purposes of this chapter, that act also introduced the concept of ‘belief’ marriages as distinct from ‘religious’ and ‘civil’ marriages, effectively recognising people who held non-religious beliefs and granting them the same status as those who held religious beliefs under the Marriage (Scotland) Act 1977 (particularly in relation to marriage ceremonies and celebrants). Two factors contributed to the context in which this Scottish legislation was passed. Firstly, the 2011 census disclosed that a significant percentage of the population declared that they were non-religious. Secondly, the popularity of Humanist ceremonies had increased within Scotland, and although they had received some legal recognition in 2005, it was temporary and restrictive within the previous framework dealing with religious marriages. This paper examines how these protections were introduced and their effectiveness over the last five years. Finally, it also addresses whether this template could be relevant for other jurisdictions.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Belton, Ms Felicity
Authors: Belton, F.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Published Online:15 June 2022
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