What is a religious celebrant?

The Marriage Act was amended on the 9th of December 2017 to include a new sub-category called Religious Marriage Celebrant. This accommodates celebrants such as myself who choose only to solemnise marriages for traditional Bride and Groom couples. This is based purely on personal religious beliefs. In this new era for marriages, I look forward to assisting brides and grooms who can identify me as a celebrant in accordance with their own religious beliefs.

Protections under the Marriage Act for religious marriage celebrants.

Under section 47A of the Marriage Act, a religious marriage celebrant may refuse to solemnise a marriage if the celebrant’s religious beliefs do not allow the celebrant to solemnise the marriage. This means that a religious marriage celebrant may act in accordance with their personal religious beliefs, in deciding whether to solemnise a marriage. This includes decisions about whether to solemnise a same-sex marriage. Under the Marriage Act, a religious marriage celebrant may also refuse to solemnise a marriage for other reasons, for example, if the celebrant was not available on the day the couple requested due to work or other commitments, or was unwell. A religious marriage celebrant may be bound by other laws—including anti-discrimination laws—when deciding whether or not to solemnise a marriage, or impose additional conditions on a couple.

Protections under the Sex Discrimination Act for religious marriage celebrants:

Under subsection 40(2AA) of the Sex Discrimination Act, a religious marriage celebrant may refuse to solemnise a marriage because of a party’s sexual orientation, gender identity, intersex status, or marital or relationship status if that refusal is consistent with the religious marriage celebrant’s personal religious beliefs.