After weeks of lobbying, the NSW Government has announced that restrictions on weddings have been eased.

Archbishop Kanishka Raffel and the chairman of the Diocese COVID Taskforce, Bishop Gary Koo, have been making the case to the government for a relaxation of restrictions. 

We are simply seeking to be allowed to have the wedding ceremony so that couples can start their married life together

Earlier this month, the Archbishop and Bishop Koo said in a media statement that they were “in regular contact with the Government and health officials and pray for wisdom as they navigate this pandemic and keep our community safe”.

“We understand their concern about celebrations turning into super-spreading events… But the promises and commitments a couple make are more important than a party afterwards. We are simply seeking to be allowed to have the wedding ceremony so that couples can start their married life together.”

In the past week, Archbishop Raffel and other leaders wrote to the Premier and the Health Minister, saying that “the freedom to marry and found a family is an inalienable human right. We believe it is right for wedding ceremonies to take place under similar restrictions that were placed on marriage ceremonies at other times in the pandemic or that are presently imposed upon funerals. 

“We ask, as a matter of urgency, that the prohibition on marriages be lifted immediately and that marriages be subject to similar restrictions to like gatherings such as funerals.”

The Government has responded with a statement from Health Minister Brad Hazzard at today’s COVID briefing, announcing that from Friday, September 3, weddings will be allowed. They will be limited to five guests, plus the couple and those required to conduct and photograph the ceremony.

Archbishop Raffel said he was delighted by the announcement.

"I thank the Minister for his compassionate response to the real difficulty experienced by people of faith who have not been able to commence their life together by publicly declaring their vows of marriage. I’m also thankful for the many couples who have patiently trusted the Lord through this early challenge in their life as his servants. No doubt there will be many more, and they have learnt valuable lessons in faithful waiting."