If you’re pro equal marriage rights and offended by the Marriage Act, Here’s a fix…
On this issue of equal marriage rights, one question I’m hearing more and more frequently, is: “Do you HAVE to say marriage is between a man and woman during my wedding ceremony? It’s so offensive to our gay friends!”
And the sorry answer is that yes, in order for your marriage to be valid, I do need to state the definition of marriage prior to you exchanging vows. But there is something we can do about that…
The controversial line in the Marriage Act 1961 is: “Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union between a man and a woman, to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entreated into for life.”
The offensive wording, of course, is the reference to “a man and a woman”. It is inherently discriminatory because it denies same sex couples the happiness, protection, rights and security that marriage brings.
The Act was written at a time when gays were in the closet and law-makers hadn’t fully grasped the concept of “discrimination”. Fair enough, that was then. But times have changed, and this is now.
It’s time to remove the discriminatory phrasing from the Marriage Act. Things are moving forward, but slowly.
In the meantime, couples still want to get married. But how to avoid the offending line?
One solution is to add a disclaimer to your ceremony.
With the surge in equal marriage rights supporters, I’m now using this disclaimer in around 1 in 10 of my wedding ceremonies:
In a just world, all people would be free to celebrate their commitment and be recognised as a valid and legal union in the eyes of the law. While this is not the case in Australia today, they remain hopefully that, one day soon, this will change for the better. In the meantime, I am obliged to state the Marriage Act in order to ensure their marriage today, is valid. Therefore… (read the monitum).
Other options for standing for equal marriage rights
- I could let the guests know that I shall be turning my microphone off while saying the offending phrase
- I could ask your guests to cover their ears during that particular section
Here’s something else you can do…
It might not happen in time for your ceremony, but it will add your drop to the ocean of Australians supporting equal marriage rights:
You can find out where your MP stands on the issue of marriage rights, and email them requesting they support a free vote on the matter. Simply type in your postcode and there’s a template letter there ready to send.
Thanks for visiting!