In 2017, 11 non-Muslim civil marriages were solemnised in Singapore -- where at least one party was below 18 years old.
These were the statistics provided by Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee in a written answer to NMP Anthea Ong on May 8.
Ong had asked about the statistics of the issuance of Special Marriage Licenses (SML) and a breakdown of applications by gender.
What is a Special Marriage License?
According to Lee, the SML is a license that is required for the solemnisation of a non-Muslim civil marriage where at least one party is below 18 years old.
Lee stated that as part of the process, the applicants will be required to undergo a comprehensive assessment for their suitability for marriage.
Here are the numbers of such marriages that have taken place from 2013 to 2017:
- 2013: 22 marriages
- 2014: 11 marriages
- 2015: 13 marriages
- 2016: 10 marriages
- 2017: 11 marriages
Higher number of successful SML applications made by females
Looking at the applications for a SML by gender, Lee revealed that the number of successful applications was higher for females.
Here are the figures for both male and female successful applicants, from 2013 to 2017:
- 2013: males (5), females (19)
- 2014: males (2), females (12)
- 2015: males (1), females (11)
- 2016: males (5), females (10)
- 2017: males (5), females (12)
And this was the average age gap between the two parties for successful SML applications:
- 2013: 4.2 years
- 2014: 5.0 years
- 2015: 5.6 years
- 2016: 3.0 years
- 2017: 4.0 years
What about Muslim marriages?
With regard to Muslim marriages involving a girl below 18 years of age, an SML is not required.
Instead, prior to the solemnisation of the marriage, a Kadi (wedding solemniser) must first assess whether the marriage can endure and if it is beneficial to both individuals.
Lee shared the numbers for Muslim marriages between 2013 to 2017:
- 2013: 14 marriages
- 2014: 18 marriages
- 2015: 14 marriages
- 2016: 15 marriages
- 2017: 12 marriages
In the event that at least one party is below 21 years old, Lee highlighted that parties of both Muslim and civil marriages must attend a mandatory marriage preparation.
They must also obtain consent from the minor's parents or guardians before the marriage is solemnised.
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