Thursday, August 18, 2005


Anyone who's spent more than about three seconds reading about organising civil marriages in England and Wales knows that you're not allowed to use any religious imagery at all, as that's the rule (we're guessing it was part of a deal cut when civil ceremonies were introduced, to stop the church losing market share amongst people who wanted God at their marriage service). That means no hymns, no people dressed as bishops, no altar boys, no Bible readings.

Now, in Dukinfield registry office, Howard Monks and Julie Sagar-Doyle turn up to get hitched, and ask if they could have Robbie William's Angels playing while they took their vows. We suspect what happened was the registrar, rather than having to work under such conditions, grabbed at the use of the word "Heaven" in the song to ban it under the No Religious Imagery rule. The happy couple weren't, erm, happy, and ran off to The Sun. The Sun, for some reason, seem to think it's got something to do with "ethnic minorities":

A COUPLE were banned from playing the Robbie Williams hit ANGELS at their civil wedding — in case it offended non-Christians.

Erm... no, "because it breached the rule on religious imagery in civil weddings", surely?

Printer Howard, of Hadfield, Derbys, blasted: “It’s ridiculous to say this would upset ethnic minorities. It’s just a pop song. Robbie’s hardly some religious bigot.”

Well, that's certainly true - one thing you can't call Robbie is a religious bigot. Gurning half-wit, yes; ugly-struck moron, perhaps; pompous talent-void cyclone, certainly. But he's not a religious bigot.

But then neither are the Registrars, are they? The song wasn't banned because it would have upset non-Christians (indeed, angels and heaven aren't even specifically Christian images, are they?); if they'd had a track of the Chief Rabbi rapping the Koran, it would still have fallen foul of the rules:

The location must also not use any religious imagery, either in the surroundings, decoration or ceremony itself.

Of course, the Williams track probably should have been allowed because it's not religious and there are no specific rules against limp ballads, but the registrars were just being careful. Indeed, if Angels was ruled to have a religious message, it would actually have ruled Howard and Julie's marriage null and void.

In the end, they used Shania Twain instead. So nobody was a winner.

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