In the past people wanting to get married in the Dominican Republic outside of the Catholic Church could only get married at the civil registry. For this reason there were often two weddings performed in the Dominican Republic for each couple. The Legal wedding at the registry and a second religious wedding ceremony by a minister at some other location.

A new law now allows other religions to perform the legal marriage ceremony. The first non-Catholic religious marriage ceremony that is also counted as a legal marriage ceremony was held in Santo Domingo for a Jehovah’s Witness couple. While the couple still chose to have the marriage held at the Civil Registry this allowed the ceremony to be to be done by an Elder instead of a secular authority. As this new law becomes better known there will no doubt be more wedding held at the Kingdom Halls without a second “legal” marriage at the Civil Registry.

This new law demonstrates a weakening in the hold of the Catholic Church in the DR. Previously the only religious organization that could perform a legally binding ceremony was the catholic Church. While still the dominant religion in the Dominican Republic it can be seen by talking with the residents here that large numbers of people are leaving the Catholic Church for the “Evangelical” faith and Jehovah’s Witnesses with smaller numbers moving to other faiths.

Congratulations to the new couple!