Gay and Lesbian Humanist

Autumn 1993

Ceremony Update

by George Broadhead

GALHA is receiving an ever-increasing number of requests for its humanist affirmation ceremony in this country, and following the partnership law enacted this year in Norway, similar ceremonies are being held there.

Ceremonies which took place recently in the UK include two in Scotland conducted by GALHA member and leading gay rights activist Ian Dunn. On 28 August he officiated at a ceremony for Damon Farrar (31) from England and local Scots boy Mark Stevenson (21) in the popular Edinburgh gay bar The New Town. The ceremony was attended by friends of the couple as well as Damon’s mum and dad who have informally ‘adopted’ Mark.

The very next day Ian enabled a lesbian couple to make a public declaration of their love and commitment – this time on local radio! The ceremony was broadcast live on Edinburgh International Festival’s own radio station Festival FM, with Karen Dunbar (22) and Jane Kidd (21) making the pledges and exchanging rings.

For both ceremonies, Ian made use of GALHA’s official text and conveyed GALHA’s good wishes to the couples and their guests.

Talking about the radio ceremony, he said it went off very well and broke down many barriers: “For once, at work next day, I had the staff asking about the event, whereas they don’t ask about gay rights issues when I’m associated with these in the papers.”

Also in August, five members of the Norwegian Humanist Association (now numbering 50,000 members) were among the ten lesbians and gay men who had their partnerships registered at a secular ceremony in the Wedding Room at Oslo’s City Hall.

Several hundred people had gathered in the court of the Hall to witness the event. The Minister of Justice brought flowers, joined the reception, and addressed those present. Rice was thrown, fiddlers played, and the three female and two male couples were driven away in horse-drawn carriages. The five newly ‘married’ humanists included Kim Friele, for 25 years President and General Secretary of the Norwegian lesbian and gay society and still the unrivalled heroine of the country’s lesbian and gay movement.

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Created : Sunday, 2000-04-02 / Last updated : Wednesday, 2007-12-12
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