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Marriages under the Special Marriage Licence

Type: Parliamentary Questions

Topic(s): Marriage Journey


Ms Anthea Ong
Nominated Member of Parliament

To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development for each of the last five years (a) what is the gender breakdown of the under-18 party in successful applications for the Special Marriage Licence; (b) what is the average age gap between the couples; and (c) how many and what percentage of marriages granted under the Special Marriage Licence have been civil marriages.


1 A Special Marriage Licence (SML) is required before civil marriages, where at least one party is below 18 years of age, can be solemnised. The process includes a comprehensive assessment of the applicants’ suitability for marriage. For Muslim marriages involving a Muslim girl below 18 years of age, an SML is not required, but a Kadi must first assess whether the marriage can endure and is beneficial to both individuals before he solemnises the marriage. In addition, for both civil and Muslim marriages where at least one party is below 21 years old, the couple is required to attend a mandatory marriage preparation programme. Consent from the minor’s parents or guardians is also required before the marriage can be solemnised.

Table 1 Gender Breakdown and Average Age Gap for Successful Special Marriage Licence Applications, 2013 to 2017.

*The percentages reflect the gender breakdown for that particular year (e.g. 20.8% of all persons under 18 years old who were granted an SML in 2013 were male).

2 The gender breakdown and the average age gap for successful SML applications from 2013 to 2017 are as follows

3 The number of civil and Muslim marriages involving at least one party below 18 years old is as follows

Table 2 Number of Marriages Involving at Least One Person below 18 Years Old, 2013 to 2017

* The percentage reflect the proportion of civil/Muslim marriages involving at least one party below 18 years old for that particular year.