Under The Marriage Act 1961 as amended in December 2017, there are 4 Subdivisions of Authorised Celebrants:
- Subdivision A Ministers of Recognised Religions .
These are from over 650 different recognised religions and religious organisations and make up 70% of all authorised celebrants.
- Subdivision B State Officers
- Subdivision C Marriage Celebrants who do civil marriage ceremonies .
These celebrants make up 30% of all authorised celebrants and perform 75% of all marriages in Australia.
- Subdivision D Celebrants are Commonwealth Registered " Religious Marriage Celebrants". They may be from religious organisations or they may be civil celebrants who following the change in legislation to allow same sex marriage chose to be Religious Marriage Celebrants giving them exemption from conducting same sex marriages.
There was a three month period from 9 December for civil celebrants who were registered on 8 December 2017 to choose this option.
After this time no new civil celebrants could be registered as Religious Marriage Celebrants. New marriage celebrants who are ministers of religion can be registered as a Religious Marriage Celebrant if they choose to be and would be exempt from conducting same sex marriages.
Whilst the conditions to marry in Australia are the same whether you choose a civil or religious celebrant, there are different conditions that apply to religious and civil celebrants and their ceremonies. Your celebrant will explain the requirements.