Humanist weddings can have up to 15 people at their wedding, the Government has confirmed.
It comes after Humanist UK hit out at the new coronavirus regulations that came into force in England on Monday, as they said that while religious and civil marriages are allowed to have up to 15 gathered in attendance, humanist weddings were not accounted for.
But yesterday evening the Government said that a faith or belief ceremony could take place as long as it is in close proximity to the legal solemnisation of the marriage.
Humanists UK said they had been working with Government officials to fix the problem, which came to light on Thursday but claimed that their efforts had been unsuccessful.
In a press release on their website the charity said the move was “bewildering” and “sudden”, and had called for the Government to change the provisions to make them equal for all.
Humanist weddings have so far not come under complications under the coronavirus regulations because having up to 30 people applied to “significant event gatherings… to mark or celebrate a significant milestone in a person’s life, according to their religion or belief”.
But the charity said the new regulations, which were made last week just hours after the new rules were announced, withdrew the “significant event gatherings” provision, only allowing up to 15 people at legally recognised marriages.
As humanist weddings are not legally recognised in England and Wales or the Isle of Man, they would have defaulted to the general limit of six. However, the Government has clarified that they can have up to 15.
Humanists UK Chief Executive Andrew Copson said: “There is certainly no rationale for allowing religious weddings for fifteen people whilst saying that humanist weddings must be limited to six. Everyone should be treated equally.
Mr Copson said that since March they had worked closely with the Government to ensure that humanist ceremonies have been “treated equally to religious ceremonies”.
He added that it was "another reason why the UK Government should have brought about legal recognition of humanist marriages in England and Wales long ago".