By Jase Peeples
Originally published on Advocate.com March 21 2013 2:40 PM ET
A church in Scotland fears the sanctity of marriage may be destroyed by users of the Force.
BBC reports the Free Church of Scotland has raised concerns that the nation’s Marriage and Civil Partnership Bill would allow marriages to be performed by any group promoting a belief. This is due to the fact that the bill not only recognizes religious and civil partnership ceremonies as legal marriages but adds a third category as well.
The Scottish government insists the addition is necessary because groups such as humanists are currently classified as religious even though the beliefs of the organization are nonreligious. "The third category is quite astonishing because it is the so-called belief category without really defining what belief means," the Reverend Iver Martin, told BBC Alba. "There are loads of people in a diverse society like this for whom belief can mean virtually anything — the Flat Earth Society and Jedi Knights Society — who knows?"
Jedi as a religious declaration was officially added to the U.K. census in 2001 and has become one of the most popular selections for "alternative" faiths in the past decade. Since then, several organizations promoting the ideals of the fictional light saber–wielding knights have been founded, and they boast impressive membership numbers. These groups include the Jedi Church and Temple of the Jedi Order.
Nevertheless, a spokeswoman for the government of Scotland told the BBC that while the bill introduced necessary changes, officials were working to protect the reputation of Scottish marriages and would be holding public consultation on the bill. "Our current consultation covers not only the introduction of same sex marriage, but also the detail of important protections in relation to religious bodies and celebrants, freedom of speech and education," she said, adding, "We are proposing the introduction of tests which a religious or belief body would have to meet before they could be authorized to solemnize marriage."
However, Reverend Iver Martin remains fearful of what the changes like these could mean for marriages in the future. "I am not saying that we don't give place to that kind of personal belief,” he said, “but when you start making allowances for marriages to be performed within those categories then you are all over the place."
As the Scottish government continues to refine the country’s Marriage and Civil Partnership Bill, it may behoove the fearful parties to remember Master Yoda’s warning, "Fear is the path to the dark side."