Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Same-sex couple married in pagan first

Marlin's Wynd
Image caption Tom Lanting and Iain Robertson were married in a ceremony in the vaulted cellars of Edinburgh's Marlin's Wynd

Two male witches in Edinburgh have tied the knot in the UK's first pagan same-sex marriage.

Tom Lanting, 34, and Iain Robertson, 39, were married in a ceremony in the 16th-century vaulted cellars of Edinburgh's Marlin's Wynd.

The couple, who have been together for 12 years, are both hedge witches, who use herbal remedies to deal with medical and spiritual ailments.

The ceremony included handfasting, the sharing of mead and jumping the broom.

After their wedding on Sunday, the couple 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.

Image caption The couple, who have been together for 12 years, are both hedge witches

"As hedge witches we always wanted to have a pagan marriage ceremony in line with our beliefs and it was really important to us to be able to share this ceremony with our friends and family."

Scotland is the only part of the UK that allows pagans, and other minority and religious belief bodies, to solemnise legal weddings.

The Pagan Federation (Scotland) has been permitted to conduct weddings north of the border since 2005 and has carried out hundreds of ceremonies for mixed sex couples.

Louise Park, the presiding officer for the Pagan Federation (Scotland), conducted the ceremony.

She said: "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.

"We feel that, if any couple wish to, they should be able to make their marriage vows before their own personal Gods, friends and family, in a religious ceremony tailored to suit their own beliefs.

Image caption Scotland is the only part of the UK that allows pagans, and other minority and religious belief bodies, to solemnise legal weddings

"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, policy and public affairs co-ordinator for the Equality Network, said: "We were delighted to be able to attend the UK's first pagan same-sex marriage.

"Religious and belief groups played an important role in the campaign for equal marriage and this ceremony is a mark of equality and freedom of belief in Scotland.

"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."

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