Gay and Lesbian Humanist

Autumn 1998

Watery Weddings

by George Broadhead

Among the Pink Triangle Trust humanist affirmation ceremonies conducted over the past few months two had watery locations – one the River Thames and the other the Grand Union Canal.

On 4 July (timed to coincide with the Pride Festival which was cancelled!) Andrew and Jeffrey made their declarations of love and commitment in front of eighty guests on MV Mercedes as it cruised along the Thames from Putney to the Millennium Dome at Greenwich. A reception was held on board.

On 14 August, a ceremony was held for Gary and Iain on the narrow boat Wind in the Willows whilst navigating the Grand Union Canal from Yeading to Greenford, West London. The fifty guests then enjoyed a reception at the Black Horse, Greenford.

Both of these ceremonies were conducted by Denis Cobell who is probably kept busier with gay ones than the hettie variety.

Over the same period, GALHA member Rolf Solheim spoke on behalf of the humanist movement at a partnership ceremony in Sweden. This ceremony, which because of the country’s partnership law is legally binding, was held on 23 July in Stockholm’s Kugelbanan Theatre during the Europride event. The couple were Bill Schiller and Peter Froberg. Bill is coordinator of the International Gay and Lesbian Cultural Workers Network and Peter a rock singer.

Hans Ytterberg, former head of RFSL, Sweden’s national lesbian and gay organisation, officiated in his new role as Magistrate at the formal registration of the partnership. A vicar was invited to represent the more progressive part of the Swedish Church and read the story of David and Jonathan. However, he caused surprise and dismay by performing a blessing ceremony which included making dramatic cross-signs above the heads of the humanist couple! The ceremony concluded with Norwegian folk dancing in which all the guests, including the Swedish Minister of Culture, took part.

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Created : Sunday, 2000-04-02 / Last updated : Wednesday, 2007-12-12
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