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10th May 2017

Irish model takes wedding legal battle to the High Court

An Irish model is taking her bid to have her upcoming humanist marriage legally recognised.

Belfast bride-to-be Laura Lacole (27) and Republic of Ireland midfielder Eunan O’Kane (26) will tie the knot in Northern Ireland next month, but under current law, the General Register Office will not officially authorise the humanist ceremony.

While humanist marriages are currently allowed in the Republic of Ireland and in Scotland, in Northern Ireland a couple must have a separate civil registration if they want their marriage to be recognised in law.

Ms Lacole, who is vice-chair of Atheist NI, believes she is being discriminated against under European laws protecting freedom of belief.

“We want to get married in a ceremony which embraces our values, who we are as individuals and how we see life, just in the same way as any religious person would want to be married in a ceremony reflective of their beliefs.” she said.

BBC reports that while granting her leave to seek a judicial review at the High Court in Belfast, the judge said: “It seems to me this is an arguable case and an important matter of public interest has been raised.”

A full hearing will take place next month.