What is a Humanist Celebrant?

 
As a Humanist  I espouse Humanism, and this informs my ethics and practice as a Celebrant. Humanism is  a rational philosophy informed by science, inspired by art, and motivated by compassion. It is  defined by the International Humanist and Ethical Union as
... a democratic and ethical life stance, which affirms that human beings have the right and responsibility to give meaning and shape to their own lives. It stands for the building of a more humane society through an ethic based on human and other natural values in the spirit of reason and free inquiry through human capabilities. It is not theistic, and does not accept supernatural views of reality.
A Humanist celebrant treats others with courtesy, dignity, respect and tolerance, and without prejudice or bigotry.

Humanist ceremonies celebrate the joy and beauty of life that the Humanist spirit affirms and that has its roots in love, caring and compassion between the principal parties in the ceremony (bride and groom, parent and child and so on)

I believe that principles of tolerance preclude my taking a hard secular line in ceremonies. If you wish to express your beliefs it is my role to respectfully facilitate that.

I have mindfully analysed the structure and content of weddings and other ceremonies. In Australia the secular or civil marriage ceremony very closely follows the order and content of the traditional religious marriage ceremony, particularly that of the Church of England. However, in secularising this ceremony civil celebrants have converted religious practices, such as incorporating three readings and the blessing of wedding rings, into their secular equivalents without necessarily questioning their purpose within the religious marriage ceremony.

The reason there are three readings in the religious marriage ceremony is because a Christian religious marriage ceremony is defined as a service of worship and all services of worship include a reading from the Old Testament, New Testament, and the Epistles. In a civil ceremony you can choose to have as many or as few readings as you wish.

The reason that words are spoken about the rings is that at that point in the ceremony the rings were blessed before they were exchanged.

The traditional religious ceremony includes gender stereotypes and practices that are not required by Australian law. so they can be edited or altered to reflect your beliefs and ceremonial requirements. I suggest alternatives that send powerful messages of inclusiveness and of equality between the marrying couple.