Footballer’s humanist wedding to be appealed

A court ruling, granting an international footballer and his fiancee legal recognition of their looming humanist wedding, is to be appealed.

Leeds and Republic of Ireland star Eunan O’Kane and model Laura Lacole mounted a successful challenge against the authorities in the North for refusing to recognise their June 22 ceremony in law.

However, Friday’s decision, in Belfast High Court, is now to be appealed by the North’s attorney general, John Larkin.

Mr O’Kane and Ms Lacole launched the legal bid after learning that their planned humanist wedding, in Ballymena’s luxury Galgorm Resort, would not be recognised in law. F

or such recognition, they were told, they would need to have a separate, civil ceremony.

The couple took the case against the General Register Office for Northern Ireland and Stormont’s Department of Finance. Mr Larkin also participated in the hearing, because it touched on devolved Stormont legislation.

On Friday, Judge Mr Justice Colton quashed the GRO’s refusal to grant legal recognition, finding that it breached the couple’s rights under the European Convention.

Andrew Copson, chief executive of Humanists UK, which is supporting the couple’s case, said he was disappointed by the appeal.

“This is a very disappointing development, given the comprehensive nature of the judgment and is deeply upsetting for both Laura and Eunan, who were so happy to have had certainty, in relation to their wedding later this month,” said Mr Copson.

Humanism is a non-religious belief system that rejects the concepts of a higher deity or afterlife.


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