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New bill proposes ban on church fee, reception for weddings

The practice of churches in Uganda charging a fee or fees for weddings has been a long-time custom, however in the proposed Anti-Luxury Wedding Act, it will be illegal for any church to charge a fee for a wedding service.

The Anti-Luxury Wedding Act also seeks to ban wedding receptions in Uganda, in the bid to relieve men of “unnecessary financial burdens.”

“Churches should freely conduct weddings as part of their community mandate, just like they do not charge fees for holding Sunday services,” the proposed bill says.

Mr Myles Mukisa has though an article published Monday by The Daily Monitor revealed that couples will be expected to exchange their vows in church, and thereafter, proceed to their homes to live happily ever after, “investing their would-have-been reception-cash on income generating projects to secure their offspring’s future,”

“In the proposed Anti-Luxury Wedding Act, a ceiling will be levied on bride price across the country so that it becomes illegal to solicit and pay more than one currency point, which currently stands at Shs20,000, for a wife. With this, even those fellows who live on one US dollar a day will finally have capacity to save Shs100 for a year and pay for a wife,” Mr Myles Mukisa wrote.

UG Christian News has however learnt that such a bill would in a way contradict Government’s recent move to impose charge, demand licences for church marriages.

Civil Registration, Uganda Registration Services Bureau not so long ago told journalists that for each church wedding, the State would expect Shs35,000 and failure to do so would tantamount to a criminal offence, which could lead to imprisonment.

“We shall soon be knocking at your doors (Churches and other places of worship) to ask for what belongs to Caesar,” the director Civil Registration, Ms Eva Mugerwa said. However, the church need not worry about past weddings because the authority is only interested in fresh matrimonial celebrations.

Questions now linger as to whether Shs35,000 would still be demanded for a freely conducted church wedding.

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