Here comes the Bride…or should that be the Groom???

Today is a momentous day for marriage in Australia because today, Tuesday 9 January 2018 is that day that same-sex couples are legally able to get married.

Love is certainly in the air!!!

And, while the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Act 2017 commenced late last year, same-sex couples have had to wait until today to be legally married – as all married couples must submit a Notice of Intention to Marriage at least one month prior to their intended wedding day.

What has changed?

For all the rigmarole that preceded it – in December last year the Australian Parliament overwhelming voted in favour of making some fairly innocuous changes to the Marriage Act.

Those changes, now see marriage defined as ‘the union of 2 people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life‘.

What does it mean for couples getting married?

All celebrants are required to include a statement as part of all marriage ceremonies they perform that explains the nature of the marriage relationship.

This statement is called ‘the monitum’ and in almost every ceremony that I have performed, the monitum has been the cause of much unhappiness with the couples that I have married.

And the cause of that unhappiness was the fact that prior to the Marriage Act being amended – it included wording to the effect:

Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of a man and woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.

Many couples I have married did not agree that marriage should exclude same sex couples and often requested that reference to ‘man and woman’ be excluded from the montium.

However, as the monitum is a legal requirement in all civil ceremonies, to address couples’ concerns, I would include additional wording at the end of the monitum that indicated the couples’ hope that same sex marriage would one-day become a reality in Australia.

Thankfully, under the recently amended Marriage Act, the monitum has now been changed to:

Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of two people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life,

So, while there will not be scenes of jubilation today, similar to that seen on 15 November 2016 that accompanied the announcement of the postal survey where Australia said ‘yes’ to treating gay Australians as their equal and ‘yes’ to gay marriage, there is no doubt that today is a momentous day – as Australia has become the 26th country in the world to legalise gay marriage.

And for those playing at home, I have included a list of the countries below who also treat their gays like they should – as equal citizens.

 

 

Australia: December 2017

Austria: December 2017

Malta: July 2017

Germany: June 2017

Colombia: April 2016

United States: June 2015

Ireland: May 2015

Finland: February 2015

Luxembourg: January 2015

 

 

 

Luxembourg: January 2015

United Kingdom: July 2013

Brazil: May 2013

France: May 2013

New Zealand: April 2013

Uruguay: May 2013

Denmark: June 2012

Argentina: July 2010

Portugal: June 2010

 

 

 

Iceland: June 2010

Sweden: May 2009

Norway: January 2009

South Africa: Nov 2006

Spain: July 2005

Canada: July 2005

Belgium: January 2003

Netherlands: Dec 2000