Coalition of Celebrant Associations

Australia’s Peak Celebrant Body

Few Australians understand the complexities of our Marriage Act. The Act was established in the middle of the last century based upon British legislation pioneered in 1836. Unlike France, where all couples must attend a registry office to legally marry, in Australia, couples can choose from 4 types of marriage celebrants: Independent Civil Marriage Celebrants (Subdivision C) Independent Religious Marriage Celebrants (Subdivision C) Religious celebrants from Recognised Religions (Subdivision A) Marriage Officers in State and Territory Registry Offices (Subdivision B) This is because the civil function of witnessing and registering a marriage according to civil law has been granted by…
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…
From the Register of Marriage celebrants conducting religious ceremonies for independent religious organisations As at 13th October 2017 There were 505 independent religious celebrants from 462 different religious groups and 47 of these religious celebrants also offering civil ceremonies. Below is a list of those religious organisation: Civil and Religious organisation 1 1 Abundant Life Community Church And Civil Ceremonies   1 Acts Missions International - Rochedale   1 Acts Missions International Inc.   1 Adelaide Abundant Life Centre   1 Adelaide Christian Fellowship Hackham   1 Agape Christian Church, Rooty Hill, New South Wales.   1 Agios Ministries   1…
Section 47 of the Marriage Act states:47. Ministers of religion not bound to solemnise marriage etc.Nothing in this Part:(a) imposes an obligation on an authorised celebrant, being a minister of religion, to solemnise any marriage; or(b) prevents such an authorised celebrant from making it a condition of his or her solemnising a marriage that:(i) longer notice of intention to marry than that required by this Act is given; or(ii) requirements additional to those provided by this Act are observed.”
To effectively inform and educate the Australian public and visitors about marriage in Australia - all marriage and/ or wedding ceremonies need to have the same basic legal components. Examples of amended Sections 45, 46 and 113 of the Marriage Act. The sections below are not endorsed by the Coalition of Celebrant Associations (CoCA) Inc., but are provided as examples only of how simple changes could be made to: remove confusion for marrying couples and guests and ensure every marriage ceremony has the same basic legal elements whilst still respecting the rights of couples to have their choice of ceremony -…
Section 101:  Solemnisation of marriage by unauthorised personA person shall not solemnise a marriage, or purport to solemnise a marriage, at a place in Australia or under Part V unless the person is authorised by or under this Act to solemnise marriages at that place or under that Part, as the case may be.Penalty: $500 or imprisonment for 6 months.”
Note: The requirement of the couple to give verbal consent to the marriage in front of witnesses, which is a requirement for the 70% of couples who choose a civil weddings, is not applied to religious couples, if the form of ceremony used by a religious celebrant1 does not include such consent. It is known that this component is missing in certain religious ceremonies. However without the ability to review the over 650 religious groups' ceremonies covered by section 45, CoCA is not in the position of being able to identify the extent of this exemption. Given the concern about…
“Section 103: Going through ceremony of marriage before person not authorised to solemnise itA person shall not go through a form or ceremony of marriage with another person knowing that the person solemnising the marriage is not authorised to solemnise it and having reason to believe that the other party to the marriage believes that the person solemnizing the marriage is so authorised.Penalty: $500 or imprisonment for 6 months.”
The Marriage Act 1961 determines the different Divisions and Types of Marriage Celebrants Division 2—Marriages by authorised celebrantsDivision 3—Marriages by foreign diplomatic or consular officersDivision 3—Marriages of members of the Defence Force overseas The Commonwealth Attorney-General's Department is responsible to maintain a Register of All Marriage Authorised Celebrants ensure that the public has access to this information. This Register is now a web-based register on the AGD website. Links to Find a Celebrant section of the website are included in the list of types of authorised marriage celebrants to access information about each group. Also note when accessing the online…
.       Marriage Act 1961 Section 45 45 Form of ceremony 1.   Where a marriage is solemnised by or in the presence of an authorised celebrant,        being a minister of religion, it may be solemnised according to any form and        ceremony recognised as sufficient for the purpose by the religious body or        organisation of which he or she is a minister. 2.   Where a marriage is solemnised by or in the presence of an authorised celebrant, not        being a minister of religion, it is sufficient if each of the parties says to the other in        the…
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