Male witches tie knot in first UK Pagan same-sex wedding

01/21/2015 06:44

Tom Lanting, 34, and Iain Robertson, 39, were married in a ceremony which involved a knot-tying after being together for 12 years.

The couple are both Hedge Witches and were married in front of family and friends in the 16th century vaulted cellars of Marlin's Wynd by Louise Park, Presiding Officer for the Pagan Federation, Scotland.

The ceremony encompassed ancient Pagan traditions including casting a circle, invoking the elements of earth, air, water, fire and spirit, exchanging rings, sharing a quaich of mead, binding the couple's hands - known as Handfasting - and jumping the broom.

Scotland is the only part of the UK that allows Pagan and other minority religious and belief bodies to solemnise legal marriages.

Tom and Iain 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.

"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."

Celebrant Louise Park said: "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. 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."

Hedge Witchcraft is described as focusing on shamanic experience and herbalism.

Following the passage of the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014 the Pagan Federation (Scotland) were one of the religious and belief organisations that opted-in to conducting same-sex marriages.

The Equality Network, Scotland's national lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) equality charity, attended the ceremony on Sunday and welcomed the marriage as a "mark of equality and freedom of belief in Scotland".

Tom French, Policy and Public Affairs Coordinator for the Equality Network, said: "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.

"These groups, and the same-sex couples that want a religious or belief marriage in Scotland, now have their rights respected."

The Pagan Federation, Scotland, has been able to conduct hundreds of legal mixed-sex marriages since 2005.

The body is the largest umbrella organisation supporting the Pagan community in Scotland, and currently has ten legal marriage celebrants located across the country. HearldScotland

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