Coalition of Celebrant Associations

Australia’s Peak Celebrant Body

What religions are recognised under Subdivision A of the Australian Marriage Act

All persons who solemnise marriages in Australia must be authorised under the one Marriage Act.  Marriage celebrants are in three categories in the Marriage Act 1961 under:

  • Division 1—Subdivision A—Ministers of recognised religions 
  • Division 1—Subdivision B—State and Territory officers etc.
  • Division 1—Subdivision C—Marriage celebrants - Independent civil and minority religious

Approximately two-thirds of all marriage celebrants (23,103 marriage celebrants) from these 128 Recognised Religions and (568 marriage celebrants) from 512 smaller religious groups are exempted under Section 45 of the Marriage Act from the couple giving consent in the ceremony, if this is not in the church rite.* 

Both religious groups are also exempted under Section 113 from making it clear to the guests at a religious wedding, when the marriage being celebrated, that the couple are already married; and marriage celebrants from thes Recognised Religions below are also exempted under Section 46 from declaring they are also performing a marriage under Australian law when they do so.

Division 1—Subdivision A—Ministers of recognised religions 
Marriage (Recognised Denominations) Proclamation 
References: 2007 Proclamation - 2013 Proclamation -

  • Aboriginal Evangelical Fellowship of Australia
  • Ananda Marga
  • Anglican Catholic Church in Australia, The
  • Anglican Church of Australia,
  • The Antiochian Orthodox Church
  • Apostolic Church (Australia),The
  • Apostolic Church of Queensland, The
  • Armenian Apostolic Church in Australia, The
  • Assemblies of God in Australia
  • Associated Christian Ministries
  • Associated Christian Spiritual Churches of Australia
  • Associated Mission Churches of Australasia Incorporated
  • Association of Vineyard Churches Australia, The
  • Australian Christadelphian Ecclesia
  • Australian Church of Antioch, The
  • Australian Fellowship of Bible­believing Churches
  • Australian Fellowship of Mission Centres (Youth with a Mission)
  • Australian Indigenous Ministries
  • Australian Unitarian Druze
  • Autocephalic Greek Orthodox Church of America and Australia
  • Baha’i Faith
  • Baptist Union of Australia, The
  • Belarusian Autocephalous Orthodox Church in Australia and Abroad
  • Bethesda Ministries International Incorporated
  • Brethren
  • C3 Church Global
  • Calvary Life Assemblies
  • Chinese Methodist Church in Australia
  • Christian and Missionary Alliance of Australia, The
  • Christian Brethren
  • Christian Church in Australia
  • Christian Church, The
  • Christian Israelite Church
  • Christian Life Churches International
  • Christian Outreach Centre
  • Christian Reformed Churches of Australia
  • Churches of Christ in Australia
  • Church of God (Australia) Limited
  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter­Day Saints
  • Church of Scientology Incorporated, The
  • Church of the Foursquare Gospel (Australia) Limited
  • Church of the Foursquare Gospel in Australia
  • Church of the Nazarene
  • Church of Tonga in Australia, The
  • Churches of Christ in Australia
  • Community of Christ
  • Congregational Christian Church in Samoa, The
  • Conregational Federation of Australia
  • Connexions Ltd
  • Cook Islands Christian Church
  • Coptic Orthodox Church of Australia
  • CRC Churches International
  • Crosslink Christian Network
  • Dream Centre Christian Church Limited
  • Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Australia, The
  • Federation of Australian Buddhist Councils
  • Federation of Reformed Christian Churches of the Pacific Australia Incorporated
  • Fellowship of Congregational Churches
  • Fellowship of Evangelical Churches in Australia
  • Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches
  • Free Reformed Church of Australia
  • Free Serbian Orthodox Church, Diocese for Australia and New Zealand
  • Full Gospel Churches of Australia
  • German Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • Goshen Ministry International Outreach
  • Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia
  • Hindu Council of Australia, The
  • Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East
  • Hungarian Reformed Church of Australia, The
  • Iglesia ni Cristo
  • Independent Baptist Fellowship
  • Independent Baptists of Australia
  • Independent Church of Australia, The
  • International Council of Spiritualists
  • International Society for Krishna Consciousness
  • Islam
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses
  • Jerwry
  • Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church in Victoria, The
  • Liberal Catholic Church, The
  • Lutheran Church of Australia Incorporated, The
  • Macedonian-­Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Church
  • Macedonian Orthodox Church, Diocese of Australia and New Zealand
  • Ministers Fellowship International
  • New Apostolic Church in Australia, The
  • New Church in Australia, The
  • New Life Churches of Australia
  • OzReach
  • Pacific LMS Church Australia Incorporated
  • Potters House Christian Fellowship of Australia, The
  • Power of the Spirit Ltd
  • Presbyterian Church of Australia, The
  • Presbyterian Church of Eastern Australia
  • Presbyterian Reformed Church
  • Reach Out for Christ Limited
  • Reformed Presbyterian Church of Australia, The
  • Religious Society of Friends, The
  • Revival Centres International
  • Revival Fellowship, The
  • Rhema Family Churches Australia
  • Roman Catholic Church
  • Romanian Orthodox Church
  • Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
  • Salvation Army, The
  • Serbian Orthodox Church in Australia and New Zealand, The
  • Seventh­-day Adventist Church
  • Sikh Council of Australia Incorporated, The
  • Society of Saint Pius X Limited
  • Southern Cross Association of Churches, The
  • Strict and Particular Baptist Churches of Australia, The
  • Ukrainian Autocephalic Orthodox Church in Diaspora, Diocese of Australia and New Zealand
  • Unitarians
  • United Aborigines Mission
  • United Church of God — Australia
  • United Pentecostal Church of Australia
  • United Spiritualism of Australia
  • Uniting Church in Australia, The
  • Victorian Spiritualists’ Union
  • Victory Life Centre Incorporated
  • Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Connexion in Victoria, The
  • Wesleyan Methodist Church, The
  •  Presbyterian Church, The
  • Worldwide Church of God
  • Worship Centre Christian Churches Worldwide (Australia) Ltd
  • These five religions were recognised in 2013**
    • Caodai Overseas Missionary (Australia) Incorporated
    • Korean Presbyterian Reformed Church Incorporated
    • Peace Christian Ministries Limited
    • Sabian Mandaean Religious Community, and
    • Ukrainian Catholic Church in Australia.

See Division 1—Subdivision C—Marriage celebrants - Independent minority religious


* @ 8 August 2016

** Section 26 of the Marriage Act 1961 (the Act) provides that the Governor-General may, by Proclamation, declare a religious body or a religious organisation to be a recognised denomination for the purposes of the Act.

Religious bodies or organisations declared by the Governor‑General to be recognised denominations under section 26 of the Act are permitted to nominate their ministers of religion directly to the state and territory registrar of births, deaths and marriages for authorisation as marriage celebrants.

In 2007, the Marriage (Recognised Denominations) Proclamation 2007 (the 2007 Proclamation) was made. The last amending recognised denomination Proclamation, the Marriage (Recognised Denominations) Amendment Proclamation 2010 (the 2010 amending Proclamation), was made by the Governor‑General on 24 March 2010. There are currently 123 denominations recognised by virtue of the 2007 Proclamation and its 2010 amendments.

The Marriage (Recognised Denominations) Amendment Proclamation 2013 (the 2013 amending Proclamation) amended the 2007 Proclamation to add the following five organisations, which had sought recognised denomination status under the Act:

The Act specifies no conditions that need to be satisfied before the power to make the Proclamation may be exercised.

The Proclamation is a legislative instrument for the purposes of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003. 

Pursuant to section 17 of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 consultation was undertaken with the five organisations given recognised denomination status by the 2013 amending Proclamation.

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