The Church of England Marriage Measure 2008 (“the Measure”) came fully into force on 1 October 2008. It extends the existing legal right to be married in a parish, using a Church of England marriage service, to cases where one or both of the couple can establish a valid connection with the parish (see details below). This is called a ‘Qualifying Connection’. The Measure was passed because the church wishes to support and encourage marriage, and to provide a welcoming ministry to couples who wish to be married in Church. A Qualifying Connection may be of any one of the seven types specified in the Measure. These are:-
- Having been baptised in the parish
- Having been confirmed, and the confirmation is entered in a Register belonging to a church or chapel in the parish
- Having a parent or grandparent who was married in the parish
- Having a usual place of residence in the parish for at least 6 months*
- Having a parent who has had his/her usual place of residence in the parish for at least 6 months during an applicant’s lifetime.*
- Having habitually attended public worship services in the parish for at least 6 months.**
- Having a parent who has habitually attended public worship services in the parish for at least 6 months during an applicant’s lifetime.**
*This can apply whether or not the applicant or his/her parent(s) are still resident in the parish.
**This can apply whether or not the applicant or his/her parent(s) are still attending worship in the parish.
Note: A parent in this instance means:
Parent of either a legitimate or an illegitimate child; or
- An adoptive parent. (This requires legal adoption); or
- A person “who has undertaken the care and upbringing” of another person.
- For a grandparent, one of the above three types of relationship must apply between each generation and the next, ie between the grandparent and the parent and between the parent and the person completing the form.