Registrar and celebrant have protective role

Marriage laws were originally designed to protect women.

One of the reasons services used to have to be held in public was to ensure that no-one was forced into marriage.

Although that requirement has been relaxed I can’t understand how a 17 year-old was forced into marriage in New Zealand.

The story is no longer on the Stuff website (the link above goes to quotes from it at Kiwiblog). But it said she was tricked into the marriage by her parents which leaves me asking what happened to the protective role of the registrar and celebrant?

Before anyone can marry the law requires a licence:

To get a licence you will need to complete a Notice of Intended Marriage application form.  If either of you have been married or in a civil union before, and the marriage or civil union has been dissolved, you may be asked to produce evidence of the dissolution (e.g. Divorce/Dissolution Order) when you give notice to the Registrar. If your previous spouse or partner has died you do not have to produce evidence of their death, but you will have to give the date of death on the Notice of Intended Marriage.

Make a Statutory Declaration

As part of completing the application form for a marriage licence, you need to make a statutory declaration. Either you or your partner will need to make a formal statutory declaration that there is no lawful impediment to the marriage (i.e. no legal reason that you both cannot be married), that the details given are true, that the bride and groom are not within the “prohibited degrees of relationship” and that consent has been given (where relevant).
If you live in New Zealand one of you must make this declaration in the presence of a Registrar of Marriages.

Only one of the two to be married needs to make the statutory declaration and it is possible in this case that it was the groom who did it.

However, the age of the bride ought to have raised concerns.

Even if the registrar didn’t sense anything amiss I can’t understand how the celebrant could have not realised something was wrong.

The law also requires that at some stage in the marriage service both parties say :”I AB, take you CD, to be my legal wife/husband” or words to similar effect.

It would be impossible to trick someone into saying anything like that against her will without the celebrant being aware of it.  If the young woman did not say those words, or something similar, then the celebrant should not have signed the marriage certificate.

If the celebrant did sign the certificate without the woman saying the required words voluntarily then s/he should be de-registered.


5 Responses to Registrar and celebrant have protective role

  1. Andrei says:

    Was this marriage actually registered under New Zealand law? Marriage is a cultural thing that has been usurped by the State – which has in its usual fashion despoiled what it has taken.


    I know that Priests and so forth are registered to conduct Marriages under New Zealand Law and that marriages conducted by them are registered both civilly and ecclesiastically.

    But consider this Ele – if a Priest’s registration lapsed and he conducted a marriage which was registered ecclesiastically but not civilly all the laws relating to marriage would fully take effect two years after the wedding took place regardless. That is under Canon law and under civil law such a couple would be married.

    So what is the Governments piece of paper really worth?

  2. homepaddock says:

    Andrei – now the Stuff story has disappeared I can’t check, but from memory the marriage was anulled which means it must have been registered.

    You are right that de facto relationships have the same legal rights after two years as marriage.

    In several countries religious marriages aren’t legally recognised. Couples have to have a civil ceremony then can choose to have a religious one or not.

  3. Denny says:

    Someone close to me is being pressured into a muslim marriage by the parents of the groom (the couple are marrying in a secular ceremony in a few months). The muslim marriage would be overseen by the father of the groom who is a leader in his muslim community, and probably registered as a marriage celebrant. Even if not married legally, the couple would be married under muslim law. The pressure is intense, really intense, and difficult to resist even for a strong educated woman in a professional job who is from a European New Zealand background. What chance would this 17 year old girl have stood to resist her parents? These experiences leave me wondering about the ethics of some marriage celebrants, what religious and cultural fanatics are capable of (while believing they are doing the right thing) and the scrutiny of registered marriage celebrants.

  4. Andrei says:

    Again I ask Ele – what does the piece of paper from the Government mean.

    What does it mean when either one of those whose names it holds can walk away from it on a whim?

    What does it mean when all the “rights and responsibilities it brings can be obtained by cohabiting couples who do not have it?

    What does it mean when two men can turn up to the venue decorated in highest kitsch and get the same piece of paper?

    Not very much – it is just a degraded and debased travesty of what you were given and given for a purpose, that being the orderly procreation and raising of the next generation.

    And if want an example of just how degraded and debased this society is, even among your fellow national party members LOOK HERE.

    This society is committing suicide, and since just about everything of value in its heritage has been pooped over by the so called intellectual elite – no great loss.

  5. homepaddock says:

    Andrei – what it means is that marriage is ultimately a contract between two people who take responsibilities more seriously than their rights and regardless of the legal bit of paper.

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