Government supports legislation to allow members of non-religious bodies to perform civil marriages

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Following the introduction of a Private Members Bill by Senator Ivana Bacik last year, the Government today (Tuesday, 1st May 2012) agreed to support legislation to allow members of non-religious groups to perform civil marriages.

Commenting on this development, Minister Burton said: "I would like to commend Senator Bacik on her initiative in bringing this Bill before the Seanad. The key impact of the Bill, which seeks to amend the Civil Registration Act 2004, will be to allow members of non-religious bodies, such as members of the Humanist Association of Ireland, to be entitled to perform legal civil marriages. My officials have been working with the Senator to bring this to fruition."

The Civil Registration Act, 2004 provides for a register of solemnisers, who may be either registrars employed by the HSE or members of religious bodies, who are authorised under law to solemnise marriages in the State. This Bill seeks to introduce a third category of solemniser - a solemniser who is neither a registrar employed by the HSE or a member of a religious body.

It is proposed that the Bill will amend the definitions contained in section 45 of the Civil Registration Act, 2004 to provide for applications from philosophical and non-confessional bodies, provided they fulfil certain criteria.

These criteria are:-

  1. that the body in question has been performing marriage ceremonies for at least five years;
  2. at least twenty couples have participated in marriage ceremonies;
  3. these marriage have been solemnised and registered in the State register; and
  4. at least one of these marriages has been registered at least five years before the date of the application to the Registrar General.

In order to progress the Bill, it must be passed by the Seanad and it can then by sponsored by Minister Burton in the Dáil. At that stage, the Bill will be submitted to Government for approval to proceed and it will be referred to the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel in the usual manner.

Minister Burton concluded by saying: "The proposal to include members of non-religious bodies in the register of solemnisers is one I support and I am delighted to have obtained the support of my colleagues in Cabinet for the proposal today".

Note: A list of bodies who are currently authorised under law to solemnise marriages in the State follows.


Register of bodies authorised to solemnise marriages include the following (this list is also available at '')

  • 7th Day Adventist Church
  • Abundant Grace Christian Assembly
  • Abundant Life Christian Centre
  • Amish Mennonite Community Ltd
  • Arann Reformed Baptist Church
  • Armenian Orthodox Church
  • Assemblies of God Ireland
  • Association of Independent Christan Churches
  • Baha'i Community
  • Bantry Christian Fellowship
  • Baptist Church
  • Blanchardstown Baptist Church
  • Bridgetown Gospel Hall
  • Buddhist
  • Calvary Chapel Cork
  • Calvary Church Wexford
  • Calvary Ireland
  • Carlow Bible Church
  • Chinese Gospel Church
  • Christ Healing Evangelical Church
  • Christian Brethren
  • Church of Ireland
  • Church Of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints
  • Congregational Union of Ireland
  • Cootehill Christian Fellowships
  • Cornerstone Christian Church
  • Donnybrook Church
  • Donnybrook Pentecostal Church
  • Dublin West Community Ch
  • Dun Laoghaire Evangelical Church
  • Elim Ministries
  • Ennis Evangelical Church
  • Free Presbyterian Church
  • Gorey Christian Assembly
  • Grace Christian Fellowship
  • Grace Fellowship
  • Great Hope Gospel Ministries
  • Greek Orthodox Church
  • Healing Streams Christian Renewal Centre
  • The Redeemed Christian Church of God
  • Hillside Evangelical Church
  • Hope and Glory Christian Ministries
  • Islamic Community
  • JC of LDS
  • Jehovahs Witnesses
  • Jewish Community
  • Kingdom Dominion Christian Church Limited
  • Knocklyon Church of Christ
  • Lifegate Bible Baptist Church
  • Life Renewal Ministries International
  • Listowel Christian Fellowship
  • Lurganearly Hall
  • Lutheran Church
  • Mallow Street Christian Fellowship
  • Methodist Church
  • Monaghan Gospel Hall
  • Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries
  • Mountain View Community Church
  • Mullingar Christian Fellowship
  • Nazarene Community Church
  • Newbridge Bible Fellowship Church
  • Newcastle West Bible Fellowship
  • New Life International Ministries
  • North Down Christian Fellowship Church
  • Oratory Society
  • Order of Marian Apostles
  • Pagan Federation Ireland
  • Plumbline Ministries
  • Presbyterian Church
  • Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland
  • Religious Society Of Friends
  • Riverside Gospel Hall
  • Roman Catholic Church
  • Romanian Orthodox Church
  • Shanganagh Bible Church (Plymouth Brethern)
  • Society of St Pius X
  • Solid Rock Church of God
  • Soul Winning Pentecostal Ministries
  • South City Church
  • South Hill Evangelical Church
  • Spiritualist Union of Ireland
  • The Association of Independent Christian Churches
  • The Bride Christian Fellowship
  • The First Six Principle Baptist Church of Ireland
  • The Gospel Hall Skibbereen
  • The Lighthouse Baptist Church
  • The Oratory Society
  • The Redeemed Christian Church of God
  • The Redeemed Church of God
  • The Salvation Army
  • The Society of St. Pius X
  • Tower of Power International Ministries
  • Tralee Christian Fellowship Church
  • Tramore Bible Church
  • Transfiguration Christian Centre
  • Trinity Church Network
  • Unitarian Church
  • Victory Christian Church
  • Victory Outreach Church
  • Word of Victory Church
  • World Outreach Christian Centre
Last modified:01/05/2012