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