civil marriage(redirected from civil marriages)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal.
marriage contracted in corresponding agencies of state power, without the participation of the church. In the Soviet state the first decree on civil marriage was issued on Dec. 18, 1917. In the USSR only civil marriage is legally valid. (Church marriages contracted before the establishment of Soviet power are equivalent to registered civil marriages.) Similarly, in foreign socialist countries, exclusive recognition is given to civil marriage. In certain bourgeois countries, including France and Switzerland, civil marriage is obligatory, and a church wedding has no legal significance. In Great Britain, some states of the USA, and other bourgeois countries, marriage may take place either in secular agencies or in church, and the two forms of marriage have equal validity under the law.