Bill passed to allow marriage solemnisations to go virtual, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Bill passed to allow marriage solemnisations to go virtual

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It will help couples who had to postpone plans because of circuit breaker measures

Couples whose plans to tie the knot were affected by the Covid-19 situation will be able to say their wedding vows via live video link, after Parliament passed a Bill yesterday.

Unless they belong to the same household, however, the bride, groom and other parties involved in the ceremony should not gather for the solemnisation, in line with safe distancing measures.

Presenting the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures for Solemnisation and Registration of Marriages) Bill for debate, Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee said 2,723 couples were scheduled to have their marriages solemnised between April 7 and June 1, but had to postpone their plans owing to the circuit breaker measures.

"While some couples may prefer to wait until it's safer to celebrate their big day in person with family and friends, others may not wish to wait any longer, or may face extenuating circumstances that make postponement challenging. We want to support them," he said.

The Bill, introduced on Monday, required a certificate of urgency from the President to allow it to be debated in the same sitting.


The new law, expected to take effect in the second half of this month, will allow couples to undergo solemnisations online in the virtual presence of their witnesses, and in the case of Muslim marriages, also the wali, the bride's lawful guardian.

Even though the parties may not be in the same physical location, they must all be physically in Singapore. Couples can be virtually solemnised after completing the verification of documents online and making statutory declarations virtually.

Such online proceedings will, at the start, be allowed for couples where at least one party is a Singapore citizen or permanent resident, and who can present Singapore-issued documents. The Ministry of Social and Family Development said foreign-issued documents require "a more complex level of checks and verification".

The option for virtual solemnisations, which is likely to be available from the later half of this month, will last until the coronavirus situation improves, said Mr Lee, who added that it may be available even beyond this period.

For Muslim marriages, Minister-in-Charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli told the House the Office of the Mufti has issued religious guidance, or an irsyad, stating that virtual solemnisations will not affect the validity of a marriage from a religious perspective.

Responding to Mr Christopher de Souza (Holland-Bukit Timah GRC) on whether the Bill will allow couples to cancel a notice of marriage, which is currently not allowed, Mr Lee said couples can apply to do so for valid reasons.