A pair of white witches have faced toil and trouble after their attempts to renew their wedding vows at Sheffield Register Office were rejected.
Robert and Dawn Tina Pask, who live in Broomhall, had been hoping to renew their vows after getting married eight years ago in a civil ceremony at a community centre in Batemoor.
But Robert, aged 34, and Dawn, 51, were told that civil ceremonies do not allow mention of any religion and it would not be possible to the register office to host their event using any religious or spiritualist symbols or iconography.
The pair, who wanted to include a pagan sign and light candles as part of their ceremony, said they were unhappy with the rule and also with the attitude of the staff member who told them the ceremony could not be held.
They said they feel witches are discriminated against by society and want to campaign to allow people of their beliefs from across the country to use public buildings for wedding ceremonies.
Robert said: “Just because we are witches, they won’t do it.
“We were married eight years ago. That was a civil ceremony and we wanted to renew our vows as witches.”
Dawn said: “We went to the reception to ask about it and I didn’t like the tone of the woman at all. She said ‘This is England and you are not allowed to do it in a public building’.
“In America, witchcraft is a religion and by law, you are supposed to respect all religions. To me, they have disrespected our religion. At the end of the day, it is discrimination.
“I was born disabled and I know what it is like to be different and to be victimised.
“As witches, we have had to hide and deny who we are. But we have a right and freedom to express who we are.
“Why should we as witches have to suffer for what we believe?”
Robert said the couple were speaking to the media in an attempt to raise awareness about the issue on a national level.
“I’m not just doing it for us, I’m doing it for all the witches out there,” he said.
The couple are white witches – who believe in practicing a benevolent form of witchcraft.
A Sheffield Council spokesman said: “The council is required to perform civil ceremonies in accordance with the national General Register Office guidelines. These guidelines apply to all local authorities and prevents the Council from performing a civil marriage or renewal which is religious or spiritualist in any way.
“This includes readings from religious or spiritualist texts, hymns, chants, any form worship and even prevents the display of religious or spiritualist symbols around the ceremony room.
“The couple concerned sought advice from one of our professional officers, who correctly advised them that there could not be any religious or spiritualist symbols or iconography displayed at a ceremony conducted at the Register Office. We would be happy to conduct a non-religious ceremony for them if they choose to do so but they would need to incorporate any rituals or symbolism they would like to use at a private function.”