Scotland may allow Jedi to perform marriage ceremonies


The Force is strong with the Jedi in Scotland. A bill under consideration in Scotland would grant those who have literally made "Star Wars" a religion the power to perform marriage ceremonies.

The BBC reports that the Marriage and Civil Partnership Bill would apply to other nonreligious groups such as the Flat Earth Society and the Jedi Knights Society, aka Temple of the Jedi Order.

And while it may sound like a joke to most, the Jedi religion is quite popular in some parts of Europe. In England, it is the second-most popular “alternative religion,” with more than 175,000 people listing themselves as Jedi in the 2012 nationwide census.

"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,” a Scottish government spokeswoman said.

"At the moment, marriage ceremonies by bodies such as humanists have been classed as religious, even though the beliefs of such organizations are nonreligious."

The move might be seen as a tad ironic, even among "Star Wars" enthusiasts, seeing as the actual Jedi in the "Star Wars" saga are typically not allowed to marry.

The Jedi religion has spread beyond the boundaries of Europe. Recently, a group calling itself the Golden Gate Knights began teaching a light saber choreography class in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The Scottish government plans to hold a public consultation on the bill and, of course, not all traditionally religious groups are happy about creating a new category for ceremonies that are by their very nature, arguably, a religious practice.

"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?” the Rev. Iver Martin told the BBC.

"I am not saying that we don't give place to that kind of personal belief, but when you start making allowances for marriages to be performed within those categories, then you are all over the place."

For their part, the Jedi say the very nature of their beliefs would prevent them from tarnishing any other religious institutions.

“We believe in Peace, Justice, Love, Learning and using our abilities for Good so it's unlikely that our way conflicts with your beliefs and traditions,” reads a statement on the group’s website.

Nonetheless, the Scottish government spokeswoman said a more rigorous screening process would be implemented to prevent any organization from diluting the traditions of marriage in the country.

"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," she said.

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