Auckland priest says marriage should be for free

marriage

In a country that says it want to value marriage, a licence should be granted on application for no fee says Fr Brian Prendeville.

The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) last month increased a range of celebrant-related fees.

A spokesman for the DIA said the new fees will help the Department manage costs.

The changes will also allow the Department to maintain an accurate register and discourage people applying to be a celebrant to perform a one-off celebration.

But Prendeville is asking why it is couples have to pay, because it is in the interest of government not of a couple to have record of who is married, and where they are living.

Couples now have to pay $150 to have their marriage solemnised by a celebrant, an almost $30 increase, and $240 if married in the registry office – up from $174

Prendeville, who is the parish priest of St John the Evangelist Parish in Otara, Auckland, says the DIA should value marriage, not hit couples with fees.

Independent marriage celebrants have also been hit with a $220 appointment fee, which must be renewed annually for $60.

Celebrants appointed by an approved organisation will be expected to pay $150 to register and $30 to have their registration renewed annually.

Although these fees do not apply to Prendeville as a celebrant from a religious body, he said no celebrant should be charged for providing a service to the community.

“Marriage celebrants are doing a service to witness, for the state, that this couple got married, and doing it well.”

“I’m surprised marriage celebrants haven’t got a head of steam about it because they’re offering a service,” he said.

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News category: New Zealand.

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