The United Kingdom legalized gay marriage everywhere except Northern Ireland last year, but it took until 2015 for one of the island’s religious traditions to make the leap: Paganism.
Tom Lanting and Iain Robertson, who have been in a relationship for 12 years, were married on Sunday in a 16th-century Edinburgh cellar. It’s the first official pagan gay wedding in the country’s history.
The couple both identify as “hedge witches,” a pagan tradition that focuses on using herbal concoctions to treat both physical and spiritual ills. The hedge refers to the barrier between the human world and an Otherworld that hedge witches hope to access via magical rituals.
Various traditions used in the ceremony include handfasting (binding hands together), jumping the broom and sharing mead. The couple also wore solid black robes for the ceremony.
The wedding could only take place in Scotland, as it is the only nation within the U.K. that authorizes pagans to solemnize marriages.
Pagan activists lauded the ceremony as a major breakthrough.
“Equality for people of all faiths is something that is very dear to the vast majority of pagans,” Louise Park, presiding officer for Scotland’s Pagan Federation, told the BBC. “I am absolutely over the moon to have been able to conduct Scotland’s – and the UK’s – first pagan same-sex marriage for Tom and Iain, who hold a special place in the hearts of Scotland’s pagan community.”
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