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UK's first pagan same-sex marriage performed

UK's first pagan same-sex marriage performed

On Sunday (January 18th), two male witches got married in the UK's first same-sex pagan ceremony.

The happy couple, Tom Lanting and Iain Robertson, have been together for the last 12 years and decided to have their wedding in the 16th-century vaulted cellars of Edinburgh's Marlin's Wynd, which is a popular venue for nuptials in Scotland.

Both Tom and Iain describe themselves as "hedge witches", which is an approach to witchcraft that focuses on shamanic experience and varying degrees of herbalism. It means that they use alternative remedies to deal with medical and spiritual ailments.

During their wedding ceremony, the couple took part in handfasting, a pagan custom that dates back to the time of the ancient Celts, the sharing of the mead and jumping the broom, which is exactly what it sounds like.

After the service, Tom and Iain said that being able to marry in a legal pagan ceremony was very meaningful. They added: "The new equal marriage law means that we finally have equal recognition and acceptance of our relationship, and it opens the door for all LGBTI [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex] couples to take the same step.

"As hedge witches we always wanted to have a pagan marriage ceremony in line with our beliefs and it was really important to us to be able to share this ceremony with our friends and family."

Currently, Scotland is the only area in the UK that allows pagan marriages to take place, as well as other ceremonies for minority and religious systems of belief.

The Pagan Federation (Scotland) has been legally allowed to conduct weddings in the country since 2005 and has now performed hundreds of ceremonies for heterosexual couples - Tom and Iain's joining marks the first homosexual pagan wedding.

Louise Park, presiding officer of the body, said equality of all religious faiths is something that is "dear to the vast majority of pagans" and making such ceremonies legal in Scotland has been one of the federation's biggest achievements in the last decade.

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