Fred Nile threatens teen couple’’s special day

PAN Media Release

Christian Democrat Party leader and anti-pagan campaigner Reverend Fred Nile is out to destroy a teenage couple’s plans to be joined in a Pagan handfasting ceremony.

He was quoted today as saying: ”(Handfasting) can’t be in any way acknowledged by the state and should not be listed as a genuine wedding. Our party will do what it can to stop pagan weddings and witchcraft or Wicca activities.’’

The ceremony, between two Queensland teenagers, is scheduled for next month. In it, the couple will vow to be faithful to each other for a year and a day, and have the option of renewing their vows or later formalising their union as a legally-binding marriage.

Pagan Awareness Network President David Garland hit back at Rev. Nile’s comments, describing them as “thinly disguised hate speech.”

He said: “We will hold him personally responsible for any disruption of our legally recognised ceremonies. All these kids are doing is holding a ceremony to formally acknowledge their relationship in front of their family and loved ones. Reverend Nile’s attempt to threaten kids should be seen for what it is.”

He added: “The original article reporting this news claims that Pagan marriages are not legally recognised in Australia. This is incorrect – anyone who wants to be legally married in a Pagan rite of handfasting needs simply to have a Pagan priest or priestess who is a licensed Marriage Celebrant officate at their ceremony.”

A list of Pagan Marriage Celebrants can be found by searching the Attorney General’s website:

According to the 2006 Census around 30,000 Australians follow a Pagan or nature-based religion.

A short article explaining the form and significance of Handfasting can be found here.

David Garland
PAN Inc President

PAN Inc Media Officer

The Pagan Awareness Network Incorporated Australia (PAN Inc) is a not-for-profit educational association with members Australia-wide. It has no formal ties with any religious body, but works in a proactive fashion, both within the Pagan community and as a point of contact for the public, including government and media organisations.