NI: Court of Appeal allows Humanist marriage to proceed

The Court of Appeal has granted interim authority for the Humanist wedding of Laura Lacole and  Republic of Ireland midfielder Eunan O’Kane to proceed this week with  legal recognition.

The judges have yet to rule on a bid to overturn a judgement that the celebrity couple faced discrimination based on their belief.

The ruling will be challenged in appeals by Attorney General John Larkin QC and a Stormont’s Finance Department but these were adjourned until September.

Ms Lacole is vice chaiperson of Atheist NI. Her solicitor, Ciaran Moynagh, said: “This is a good result for Laura and Eunan, and a first for Northern Ireland.  Importantly for all other humanist couples, the case will return to the Court of Appeal in September for further hearing on the original discrimination and human rights arguments.”

Ms Lacole earlier won a High Court challenge against the refusal to grant the Humanist ceremony official status.

A judge ordered the granting of temporary authorisation for a Humanist celebrant to perform a legally valid and binding wedding.

But the Attorney General objected, warning : “It’s a hugely important issue which has all kinds of ramifications.”

Adjourning the appeal until after the summer recess, Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan (pictured) directed the local registration authority to appoint British Humanist Association celebrant Isobel Russo to solemnise the wedding on a without prejudice basis.