Customary marriage is the bedrock of all marriages – Rev. Ankutse

The Reverend Mrs Alice Blunya Ankutse, the Ho Fiave Parish Pastor, Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Ghana, Saturday said customary marriage is the bedrock of all marriages and must be revered. 'Customary marriage is not engagement as we are made to believe but the real marriage,' she said, and advised all to respect it. Rev. Mrs. Ankutse said this in a paper she presented on marriage at a three-day retreat of the Ho East Presbytery Catechists Union at Awudome Tsito in the Ho West District of the Volta Region. She stated that though the law had no hand in it, without it ordinance marriage could not be celebrated. She entreated her colleagues not to officiate any ordinance marriage if the traditional marriage was not performed. Rev. Mrs. Ankutse reminded the Catechists that an ordinance marriage celebrated by a Minister of the gospel, who was not gazetted, would not be recognized under the law. Similarly, an ordinance marriage could not be celebrated in chapels not registered under the law. 'Ordinance ma rriages contracted at all places rather than those licensed by the state are invalid,' she stated. 'According to the Act, ordinance marriages are not permitted to be celebrated on Sundays and public holidays.' She said Pastors who were not gazetted or celebrated marriages in unregistered premises could be jailed for not less than seven years. Rev. Mrs. Ankutse advised would-be couples to follow due process in their ordinance marriages so as to avoid any legal embarrassment after the marriage. She entreated the Catechists as administrators of their chapels to liaise with the leadership of their various congregations to register the chapels to qualify for the celebration of marriages. The retreat was on the theme: 'Care for God's Creation, The Role of the Church.' Source: Ghana News Agency