The clergy have been asked to gazette themselves and their places of worship before they can officiate ordinance marriages.
Mr Oladele Kwaku Aribike, Head of Marriages, and Chief State Attorney at the Registrar-General’s Department, indicated that under the Marriages Act 1884-1985 (CAP. 127), a church that was not gazetted could not be used to celebrate ordinance marriage. Likewise, a minister who was not gazetted could not officiate the marriage.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency, he said the Law applied specifically to ordinance marriage.
When a church is gazetted, it means that church can be used for officiating marriages and when a minister is gazetted, it means that minister is licenced by the State to officiate marriages.
Mr Aribike emphasised that when an ordinance marriage is officiated by a minister who is not gazetted, and takes place in a church that is not gazetted, that marriage is not recognised by the State and thus becomes null and void.
‘You can officiate the marriage in a big auditorium, but once that auditorium has not been licenced, the marriage is not recognised under the Law,’ he said.
He said it was criminal, specifically, a misdemeanor for a minister to officiate ordinance marriage whilst he or she had not been gazetted.
In the past, such persons could be jailed for up to three years, Mr Aribike noted.
He said however that the prison term had been removed and now the offence attracted a fine.
Mr David Nartey Addetah, Marriage Registrar, Registrar- General’s Department, advised would-be spouses to ensure that the church where they want to celebrate the marriage was gazetted and the minister was also gazetted.
Source: Ghana News Agency