In what has been described as a landmark case, a couple from Co Antrim are at the High Court in London to challenge the legal recognition of humanist marriages in England and Wales.

Jennifer McCalmont and Finbar Graham, from Carrickfergus, are among six couples taking the legal challenge.

The other claimants are based in England.

They are taking the case in an effort to compel the British government to recognise humanist weddings as legally recognised marriages as they are in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

In 2013, the UK parliament gave the government the power to give legal recognition to humanist marriages in England and Wales, but no government has used it according to Humanists UK.

The organisation said that since then, over 6,000 couples have been denied legal recognition for their humanist weddings.

Ms McCalmont and Mr Graham plan to marry in a humanist ceremony in July on a beach in Devon where they first went on holiday together, and near where her parents live.

Humanist marriages are already legally recognised in Northern Ireland, therefore the couple could have their ceremony there, but they say Devon is the most meaningful location for them. 

Being able to choose the location is intrinsic to humanist ceremonies, according to Humanists UK.

Humanists UK Chief Executive Andrew Copson has accused the British government of dragging its heels on the matter, which he says is why the couples in question have had to bring the case.

"As more and more non-religious couples choose to have humanist weddings, we need a law that works for all people who want to marry and we hope this case will lead to reform," he said.

Ms McCalmont and Mr Graham, who are from different religious backgrounds, say that "not being able to have the ceremony we want will undoubtedly undermine the significance of the day and devalue our beliefs. The current law discriminates against us as humanists".