This is an example of the lunacy that enters into marriage once it’s unhinged from religion. Or better yet, this is what happens when government is in charge of marriage.
The Telegraph reports:
It is a phrase used for centuries by couples pledging to be faithful to each other.
But as Gary and Louise Lidington, from London, made final preparations for their wedding last weekend, they received an urgent telephone call from council registrars warning that they could not legally say the words “in sickness and in health”.
Officials in Tower Hamlets, east London, said that the phrase, which is used around the world, was too “religious” for a civil ceremony.
The couple, were forced to rewrite their vows, which they chose because of their traditional ring, just hours before the wedding, which took place on Saturday.
The phrase “to have and to hold” was also deemed too Christian, because of its echoes of the marriage service in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer.
But, after discussion, the council ruled that to it would be acceptable to say “to hold and to have”.
And they were allowed to replace “in sickness and in health” with “in sickness and when we are well”.
The couple said they had no choice but to agree to the change of wording or face having to call off their wedding.
But they were so baffled by the change that Mr Lidington, a barrister, stumbled over his lines as he said the new vows, while his wife, a public relations executive, was overcome by a fit of giggles.
The debacle shines the spotlight on confusion over the law on civil weddings in which religious elements such as hymns or Bible readings have been officially forbidden since 1837.
Perhaps a better idea than “in sickness or in health” might be just to say “until I get a bit bored” or “until you start showing your age.”
Wouldn’t that be a bit more honest?