Ecclesiastical Committee Two-Hundred and Twenty-Fifth Report

Report by the Ecclesiastical Committee on the Church of England Marriage Measure

The Ecclesiastical Committee has met and considered the

Church of England Marriage Measure

referred to it under the provisions of the Church of England Assembly (Powers) Act 1919.

1.  This Measure amends the law so as to make it easier for those who have certain types of clearly defined connections with a parish to marry there even though they are not parishioners. It does this principally by extending to them the parishioner's legal right to marry in the parish church.

2.  The Measure:

  • gives to a person who has a "qualifying connection" with a parish the same right to marry in the parish church as a parishioner has under the existing law. The "qualifying connections" are that:
    • the person concerned was baptised or prepared for confirmation in the parish;
    • the person concerned or a parent of that person has had his or her usual place of residence in the parish for a period of at least 6 months, or has habitually attended public worship in the parish for a period of at least 6 months. (The period may be continuing or at any time in the past, except that in the case of a parent it must have been during the lifetime of the person concerned); or
    • a parent or grandparent of the person concerned was married in the parish.
  • sets out the cases where the marriage may be solemnised in a place of worship which is not a parish church but is within the parochial system, but excludes all cathedrals;
  • deals with the information to be provided to establish a qualifying connection and the guidance which the House of Bishops is to issue on this;
  • deals with the procedure to be followed, in particular as regards banns; and
  • extends the common licence procedure, under which special permission can be given for the marriage to take place without banns, to cases where there is a qualifying connection.

3.  For more information about the Measure, see the Comments and Explanations submitted by the Legislative Committee of the General Synod, annexed to this Report.

4.  The Committee is of the opinion that the Measure is expedient.

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