Marriage equality issues with hetero ceremonies in Australia #Philosophizing#australia#ceremony#gay#LGBTQ#marriage equality#readings January 27 2010 | Guest post by Sarah Photo courtesy of Katherine O'Brien Photography I'm an outspoken supporter of GLBTI rights, especially when it comes to marriage equality in Australia. I go to rallies, I write letters to my local member of parliament and I post stuff all over my Facebook. That said, I had a bit of a meltdown a few months ago when discussing my impending marriage — I hold a strong view that marriage should be between two loving people, no matter what their gender or sexual orientation. I had trouble confirming that I wanted to adhere to and join an insitution that precluded my best friend, and many other people that have been supportive of my relationship with my FH. After speaking with all of them, and confirming that none of them would hate me for going ahead with a marriage, I decided that while I would continue to fight for the rights of my friends, I would also go ahead with my own hetero marriage. All of that said, my FH and I have just started looking at ceremony structures for the wedding, and have been advised by our celebrant that we must include this in the introduction… "My name is … and I am a marriage celebrant, duly authorised by law to solemnise this marriage in accordance with the laws of Australia" – all good, no problem there. What I'm struggling with is the following that must be included, from the Australian Marriage Act of 1961: "At this point, I must remind you both of the solemn and binding nature of the relationship you are about to enter. Marriage, as most of us understand it, is the voluntary and full commitment of a man to a woman and a woman to a man. It is made in the deepest sense, to the exclusion of all others and will be entered into with the desire, the hope and the firm intention that it will last" My problem is that neither FH nor I believe that marriage should be exclusively between a man and a woman. While that's currently what the law states, I don't support it and don't want our ceremony to have any mention of it. We are having an entirely civil ceremony, and we want it to support and reflect our views. Related Post 5 best quotes from the marriage equality decision to use in your ceremony While we still have so far to go and so many potential obstacles in our path, I wanted to call out some ways to include... Read more The Aussie brides gave great advice on ways to get around this — suggesting having a separate, private legal ceremony and then getting "weddinged." The latter is not an option for my FH, out of respect for his family, and I'll support that. So, thanks to another Aussie bride's suggestion, we'll be changing the wording instead: "Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life. THIS marriage, as most of us understand it, is the voluntary and full commitment of a man and a woman." Has anyone else included anything similar into your ceremony to recognize the goal of marriage equality? Did you keep it subtle for more traditional family/friends? Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo Guest post written by Sarah Sarah works in the travel industry, and lives in Brisbane, Australia with the man of her dreams in and their adorable cat. Sarah and her FH are having a Sunday afternoon wedding, in a local forest/wildlife centre (surrounded by wallabies, wombats and paddymelons, oh my!). http://offbeatbride.ning.com/profile/Sarah71 PREVIOUS Erica & Erin's decadent, artistic, feminine, fantasy, winery wedding NEXT Ang & Matt's low maintenance, low budget, DIY wedding Show/Hide comments [ 105 ] I am getting married in August and I have lesbian moms. I live in the United States in Wisconsin where recently our state constitution was amended to include specific wording about marriage being only between a man and a woman. My parents have been together for 30 years, longer than most of the marriages of my friends and other family members, so the thought of having my own wedding without acknowledging that my parents are excluded from marriage in my state concerned me. While we are not required by law to include specific language about marriage, (we are also having a civil ceremony officiated by a judge), I have decided to include a reading from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision allowing same-sex marriage. I lifted the idea from Dan Savage who attended a wedding where the piece was read. It simply states that "civil marriage is a vital social institution and to deny anyone the right to marry is limiting their human experience." My FH's parents are very religious/conservative and may very well be angered by our choice to use our marriage ceremony to make a political statement. But I could not live with myself if I stood in front of my mothers and did not acknowledge that their rights as humans in our community is limited. And isn't one of the 10 commandments to honor thy mother (s)? 26 agree Reply I cannot remember from where I "found this text, but we are using it in our straight wedding, "have also asked that we take a moment To honor those loved ones who are not with us today [Names of those acknowledged here] And as we remember those who are not with us, We also recognize those Who are still denied the civil right of wedded union And forbidden the social and legal benefits of marriage We have come a long way toward treating all men and women as equals, And yet, we acknowledge that we have farther still to go And more we can do to respect the choice to love, and be loved As you look out over the mountains, Please take a moment of silence for those we have recognized. [Moment of silence] It's from one of the other blog divas from a post with links regarding writing your own vows. I don't think that person would mind our using it too, as they obviously believe the same as we do. 9 agree Reply That's from Mrs. Cherry Pie at Wedding Bee. I remember reading it in her recap posts and thinking it was a nice way of putting it. 2 agree Reply that's awesome. i'm a lesbian and i would love to hear that at a friend's wedding. 2 agree Reply That is a great idea to put into the wedding. we are starting to choose our celebrant and i think i will ask if i can have them say soemthing similar to that. Reply Thank you! Ever since I got engaged I have felt guilty about getting married while so many of my friends are denied that right. I'll feel a lot better by including a passage about how I feel and I really like the phrasing you have for taking a moment to recognize them. 1 agrees Reply good luck Sarah, I hope your celebrant is willing to change it. My understanding (from our celebrant) is that if they get checked up on, they can get removed from the list of celebrants if they change the wording. I really hope your celebrant can help you get around it. I found myself accidentally pulling faces during the ceremony when that part was read. oops! 2 agree Reply Ugh. If that paragraph has to be in there by law, maybe change it how you propose, then follow it with a sentence like, 'And further, [Bride] and [Groom] have the sincerest hope and belief that the law will someday be changed to recognize that marriage is and should be a voluntary and full commitment of two people who love each other, regardless of gender." Snap. Would be awesome. 18 agree Reply That's pretty much what we're planning to do! Reply Thanks so much for this. I have literally copy and pasted this statement into my cermony draft! The wording is perfect. Reply This is almost exactly what I'm hoping to incorporate into our Australian wedding ceremony! Reply Thank You so much – I too have just copied your words to discuss with my FH and (most likely) include in our Aussie wedding following the Monitum from the Marriage act. 🙂 Honestly until I read this I hadn't paid close enough attention to the words in the monitum – I am glad I read this so I could find a way to put our views in there too. 1 agrees Reply My brother's gay, my husband's best friend is a lesbian, and we work in the theatre, so we had many of the same feelings. We included a couple of shout outs: the Unitarian greeting of "whoever you are, wherever you're from, whatever you believe, and whomever you love, you are welcome here" was one of the first moments of the ceremony. We also wrote a bit in the opening prayer about love and marriage being a gift from God, and that we pray for the day when all people who love each other will be able to make the same commitment we do. Another great option is to include a link on your wedsite to a marriage equality charity. 1 agrees Reply "whoever you are, wherever you're from, whatever you believe, and whomever you love, you are welcome here" I LOVE this. I may steal it, hope that's OK. 🙂 1 agrees Reply WE stole it from Unitarian Church — feel free! Reply I'm sooooo stealing this as well – thanks so much! Reply Haha, our support for marriage equality was not subtle at all. In fact, I think it pissed off a couple of my partner's relatives, but I didn't really care all that much (I mean, one of my attendants was a gay man who serenaded me during the ceremony, so my support of gay marriage shouldn't have been that shocking). Our primary reading/opening remark was from the Massachusetts court ruling that affirmed that civil marriage was a civil right: 'Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family…. Because it fulfills yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution, and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life's momentous acts of self-definition….It is undoubtedly for these concrete reasons, as well as for its intimately personal significance, that civil marriage has long been termed a "civil right." ' 11 agree Reply Sarah – we've also decided to include that reading, immediately following the introduction ^_^ [from the Sarah that wrote this] Reply We're including a passage from the Massachusetts Supreme Court case that legalized same sex marriage. Unlike our other readings we are having the officiate begin it with "As the Massachusetts Supreme Court said in their landmark case .." So we are not being completely explicit – unfortunate because we know we have people coming that do not support same sex marriage but we wanted to include something. (same as what sarah said except we changed all the "civil marriage" to just "marriage." what about: Marriage, according to the law in Australia, is the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life. While this marriage, happens to be between a man and a women, YOURNAME and PARTNERNAME believe that marriage is … (whatever you want to say here that does not refer to gender) and they sincerely hope that all loving couples will one day have the great privilege of standing in front of their friends and family to declare their love and commitment just as YOURNAME and PARTNERNAME are about to do today. 4 agree Reply I love this. I know some of the wording is for Australia, but it's still a great acknowledgement of those who are not legally allowed to get married. I think I'll tweak on this and use it! Reply does it have to say between a man and woman? can you say…….Marriage, as most of us understand it, is the voluntary and full commitment between two loving people….??? 2 agree Reply Yes, you HAVE to have the definition in the ceremony for it to be legal. In the exact words of the Act. Sucks. Reply Yes, unfortunately that's now a requirement (we can thank our previous Prime Minister for changing the wording) Reply Is there anything mandating what YOU and/or your groom say at that time? Or someone else? Is it possible simply to have a friend/ relative read something beforehand (or ya'll during) regarding your stance? In that case, the celebrant is safe, but you are clear on your views 🙂 2 agree Reply I was an aussie bride. My Maid of Honour was/is lesbian with a gorgeous girlfriend. We had the definition – had to as we wanted a legal ceremony. Then we had the celebrant say that marriage should be between two loving people regardless of race, creed , colour or gender. We also sis a speech about our friend's milestones – ie a 41st birthday, another engagement, baby on the way and I said that I am looking forward to my best friend's legal marriage (when it is allowed to happen). Bloody John fricken Howard – scare campaigns is what he is good at. Set us back a gazillion years. And as I am rather politically active I make it an issue. You should hear the screaming matches with my local pollies. 5 agree Reply Once again, I'm thanking my lucky stars that I come from a pretty egalitarian family background, and a religious environment that, for the most part, supports gay rights, has no discernible stance on gender roles, and historically has encouraged the writing of their own vows by bride and groom (and, these days, bride and bride, groom and groom, etc.). My belief that marriage is between two loving people is exactly what would put my mind at ease about getting married. It's about doing what would be right for my partner and myself, in our lives, not what makes the biggest political statement to my friends. It would never occur to me to check with my friends to see if my marriage was politically OK with them because I cannot imagine that they would think that I would marry to abandon them, or rub it in their faces. You can change an institution from the inside, too. Getting married doesn't make you a traitor. (And I'm from Texas, which is as much about man + woman as anywhere. The practical facts are that not being legally married would put us at a disadvantage in terms of financial security, and there is still enough frowning upon cohabitation here that, as an activist, my credibility would be greater as a legal wife than as a live-in. So, no, I wouldn't lose any sleep over it.) 4 agree Reply Thank you. I find the whole "boycott marriage" thing to be offensive and ineffective at best and offensive and exclusionary at worst. Getting married doesn't make you a traitor. 3 agree Reply which not to say that I don't understand those who have chosen to not get legally married. I just think that as a movement it doesn't make sense to ask people not to marry and shame them as if they therefore don't care about same-sex marriage because they choose to get married. 3 agree Reply Marriage Equality is one of a few reasons we decided against getting legally married. I understand that less than a handful couples not getting legally married won't change the minds of the majority of Ohio, but we look at it as a chance to talk to people about what we believe; if that helps one person to change their views on marriage I will be happy. 6 agree Reply Unfortunately you can't change the wording of this at all. It is one of the few things you MUST have in the ceremony for the marriage to be legal. I don't want it in my impending ceremony either but we have no choice. My wedding is in one month, so no chance of the laws changing before then unfortunately. My best friend and his boyfriend will be in the front row there for me so I guess I had better let them know about it before hand. It really does seem very rude. 1 agrees Reply That sucks that certain wording is required by law. I agree that you should add a sentence of your own views after the legal bit. How much more of your ceremony do they want to control?! Best of luck to you and much respect to your LGBTI loved ones. We would be interested to know what wording you design! 1 agrees Reply I saw a wedding where they had a whiteknot.org table set up- it's a marriage equality organization, and their slogan is that everyone should have the right to tie the knot, and the symbol is a white knot. The bride had a little table with a cute basket of white knot ribbons- same size as the breast cancer ribbon- that she had made, and a sign about their commitment to marriage equality and some info about the organization. Guests could wear a white knot if they wanted to. 2 agree Reply The Whiteknot.org table is exactly what my FH and I are doing. We both believe in marriage equality and wanted to find a subtle way to include it in our wedding as his father is extremely religious and conservative. We think this will be a good way to acknowledge injustice while not offending those like his father. Those who want to participate can do so, and those who don't want to participate aren't required, but they will absolutely know where we stand on the issue. 1 agrees Reply I'm an australian also. I was talking to partner about this the other night – I have seen recent posts about hetrosexual couples who have decided against having their marriage legalised because of the state of our outdated un-humanistic laws. I'm pro GLBT rights to marriage, and like the rest of you, there is a large part of me that feels saddened by the fact that this wording is compulsary. My mother spent a large part of my teenage years (post her divorce), in a loving relationship with another woman. We were brought up to beleive in equality, and openmindedness. My husband to be was completly against the idea of of an unlegalised marriage – although he appreciated the sentiment, we wants our marriage to be recognised in the eyes of the law – and fair enough. But I love the idea of the extra ammendment post the 'law says you must say this' bit. I'll talk to the man about it tonight. Please let us know how this works out for you! 2 agree Reply Courtney: We're doing the white knot thing too! I'm glad other people are doing it. It's a great symbol. We've struggled a lot with this too (we're getting married in Virginia, where the laws are extremely strict about who can marry you, but less so about what they have to say). We're having our best friend do the ceremony, and because my mom announced that she would have a meltdown if we went to the courthouse, we decided to hire a JOP to come to the wedding and co-officiate with my friend. Well, when she (the JOP) heard about our support for marriage equality, she flipped out and told us she's not comfortable with that. So, fired, obviously. It all worked out okay, though, as we're going to have a COMPLETELY AWESOME officiant come do a private ceremony for just our families in the morning. That will be legal, and both ceremonies will be pro-equality. Reply We're getting married in two weeks, in oz, with my gay 'bridesman' by my side. I was so upset when I found out that there really was no getting around this law. We asked our celebrant to say a little something regarding our feelings: 'the couple hope that in the future' etc. That celebrant refused point blank so I got very upset and fired her (long story). HOWEVER. A little bit of looking and we found a lovely guy who said that as long as df, I and our witnesses hear the monitum, it's legal. So he'll wait till we're over at the signing table, turn off his mic, and say'by the way…'. I feel souch better about this now. Df was as stubborn about having the day and the legal wedding be one and the same, as I was about not having these disgusting politics involved. Crisis averted. 7 agree Reply I have to say after reading thru the issue and all the replies, I think that this is the absolute best compromise. No one else is going to hear it except for you and your (two?) witnesses, and it's like the little disclaimer at the end of the medication commercials that no one pays any attention to. Sounds like you found a great officiant for the job. 4 agree Reply I'm a marriage celebrant and the monitum must be said before the vows are exchanged, not afterwards at the signing table. 4 agree Reply I would LOVE to know where that celebrant is (the nice one) so I can use them too. I hate that it has to be stated and when I start going to expos again, I will be asking the celebrant to do this. Its so unfair that it has to be said, its the 21st century! Reply Thank you so much for responding to my concerns about the boxes and posting a fantastic discussion of gender fluidity and self-identification. Reply I too have been absolutely disgusted by the laws of my country and in particular, the fact that this statement must be included in my legal wedding ceremony. I am getting married to a man but my previous, 4-year relationship was with a woman and I still identify as a queer woman. I would say that 70% of the friends who I would wish to invite to a wedding are queer and to have this statement read aloud in front of them makes me feel embarrased and sick. Hence my refusal to be married in a country where not only do they not recognise queer marriages but they must include a statement about it in a ceremony that should be about me and my partner and not the stupid laws that govern us. My partner and I have chosen to get married in British Columbia where we met and lived prior to coming back to Oz and where the laws are inclusive of all people. 6 agree Reply I say have the bride/groom/bridal party hold up large print cue cards during the ceremony. Something like, when that line comes up "WE UNDERSTAND IT AS LOVE BETWEEN TWO PEOPLE" displayed across several different signs, in big bold rainbow font. Words are said, legal and all… but the message gets across. 😉 6 agree Reply omg! i LOVE this! Love it. It's so subversive … and would make for GREAT pictures. You should sent it to an organization fighting for marriage equality and let them use it! Reply I love this! Or encourage heckling in the program… ;D 1 agrees Reply Wow, this is actually a wonderful idea. Reply Thanks for posting this – it gives me a big surge of pride to know that my post might help other people ^_^ hooray OBB! 3 agree Reply I'm Australian too – from Melbourne. I heard of a wedding ceremony where the celebrant prefaced the required wording with an announceme to the congregation that the bride and groom disagreed with the sentiments wholeheartedly. Apparently there was great applause. Might be worth asking around at a local community based radio station or community house for a reccomendation. Johnny VonGoes, a Triple R announcer is supposed to be a very good alternative marriage celebrant! 1 agrees Reply i've been to a wedding that JVG celebrated and he was GREAT! 1 agrees Reply I'm an Aussie too, from Tasmania. Our celebrant said this legal part: Marriage, according the law of Australia, is the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, and is intended to last for life. Then she (happily) read this, which we wrote for her: Unfortunately the gender specificity of this law denies many couples the right to choose marriage. Elissa and Leigh are lucky in being able to make this choice and believe it should be available to all couples. At which point our guests clapped and cheered in support of that sentiment. 6 agree Reply thank you for these posts! I'm a melbourne bride and I keep redrafting my ceremony and coming across this line and wincing and feeling disgusting about our country for its lack of equal rights for GLBT australians. Thank you for the tips!! 3 agree Reply oo! Could you say "this marriage" and then add a statement about your support of same sex marriage? Reply Yeah, we had to have our celebrant say this. It was stupid and I felt horrible, with my gay/bisexual friends in attendance. We didn't plan on saying anything formal during the ceremony, but after she read that line, I did turn to the small group of people, made a really great gaging face and apologized. Not really classy, but whatever, it got the point across. Reply Our celebrant is going to emphasis the "according to the law" part and may consider "is the union of THIS man and woman to the exclusion of all others" rather than A man and A woman- it changes the meaning, but its only one word that is changed, and we felt it meant our marriage may be between a guy and a girl, but when a couple of our friends decide to get hitched (two boys) they should blinking well be able to do it too. So he's looking into that for us- as its a legality, he has warned us to plan for the original to be in there. Reply I know this won't be the case for many people, but I looked up the Act (being a huge legal nerd, and being HORRIFIED that this has to be included! WTF!) and found out that if you use a religious minister, you don't have to include this statement. Go figure. It's only if you use an authorised celebrant that they're compelled to use the wording, or the marriage is invalid. (The other reason I looked this up is that my brother was married in a church wedding two weeks ago, and I KNEW they didn't use this wording, so I was confused.) If anyone's interested in reading the law and exactly what it says, it's here: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act… (sorry for ugly link) If you scroll down to sections 46 and 48 on the left hand side, those are the relevant bits. Reply wow im a big legal nerd too and looked up the legislation for my wedding to see exactly what was required, but since we arent having a religious wedding I didnt check if ministers had to say it. Its so ridiculous!! I suppose old Jonny figured we'd change the law before any churches would marry same sex couples so wasnt a risk to his narrow minded views. I'm hoping same sex marriage will be brought to parliment before the govt changes back. Reply Wow, I didn't know that! I wonder if the same thing applies if we have a pagan religious ceremony! Probably not, as a guess, but worth investigating! Reply Hang on, doesn't section 48 say: (2) A marriage is NOT invalid by reason of all or any of the following: … (e) failure to comply with the requirements of section 44 or 46; so really, yes it would be nice if they stated all of those words, but if they don't happen to, that technicality won't invalidate the marriage? Reply I looked up the law, and I believe that what it means is that, if the marriage were to be challenged in court, it could not be anulled on the basis that the words were not spoken. However, you will not find a celebrant who will willingly conduct a ceremony other than fully according to the law. It is one of the requirements of their registration. I may be wrong, but that's what I understand. 2 agree Reply This was the last straw for me when we were planning. I wanted to be married in Australia but once I saw the only way around the definition was to marry in church I was livid. I would be equally untrue to myself and unworthy of our marriage if I listened to a bunch of wording I do not believe in either place so we headed to the US and married there were no such requirements exist. Reply I am having a hetero wedding and do not have any gay/lesbian friends (though I do know someone is a closet bisexual), so don't have an obvious reason for wanting to make an alternative vow / statement. However, I am still disgusted by our government and ashamed that our country is so backwards when it comes to this issue. AFter reading it all the posts I understand more about it. I am going to contact my celebrant who is really into doing offbeat weddings and supports it. Actually I am going to send her a link to this page and anyone else I can think of. Ignorance is holding our country back and causing unnecessary distress and segregation. 3 agree Reply Eliza is right. I am a celebrant, and became one so that I would be able to conduct same sex marriages if and when our laws are changed, and I believe that this will happen in my lifetime. Unfortunately, when the marriage act was "strengthened" in late 2004, the monitum (the phrase "My name is… and I am authorised by law to solemnize marriages according to law, etc") became an integral part of the ceremony, and if wording is changed, or it is omitted, or if it can't be heard, the marriage can be deemed to be not legal if a challenge is issued. Because many of my couples either identify as GLBTI or at least queer friendly, I usually discuss this at the first meeting, and suggest that they consider their feelings, and how they would like to manage expectations of the guests, and to make everyone feel supported. Every non-legal ceremony I do comes with a commitment from me that I will legally solemnize the union when it becomes legal without charge to the couple. Although the celebrant has to say these words, and the couple, by making vows and signing the legal paperwork are tacitly agreeing to the Marriage Act, 1961 (not much has changes since then!), I believe it is possible to abide by the law, and still have a wedding that is sensitive to the fact that the law is stupid. At a recent ceremony I did, the guests were each handed a white knot (http://www.whiteknot.org) to pin on as they arrived. During the ceremony the white knot was explained as a symbol of the belief that everyone should have the right to "tie the knot". I hope that helps, and I hope you have a wonderful wedding day, and an even better marriage 🙂 1 agrees Reply unfortunately celebrants in australia are lgally obliged to say that marriage is between a man and a woman. you could potentially say something in your speeches at the reception along the lines of "they said that because they had to, and we think it's bullshit." i've been a bridesmaid, and a wedding guest at a lot of friends weddings, and had to hear that phrase a lot, and as a lesbian, it has stung, but it's been very much appreciated when the newly married friends have acknowledged that it's a crappy law and it doesn't reflect their values or beliefs. it sounds like your friends know that you don't take your privilege for granted and you're an ally with the in their fight for recognition and equality. good luck with your planning, and have a wonderful wedding! essie. Reply unfortunately celebrants in australia are lgally obliged to say that marriage is between a man and a woman. you could potentially say something in your speeches at the reception along the lines of "they said that because they had to, and we think it's bullshit." i've been a bridesmaid, and a wedding guest at a lot of friends weddings, and had to hear that phrase a lot, and as a lesbian, it has stung, but it's been very much appreciated when the newly married friends have acknowledged that it's a crappy law and it doesn't reflect their values or beliefs. it sounds like your friends know that you don't take your privilege for granted and you're an ally with the in their fight for recognition and equality. good luck with your planning, and have a wonderful wedding! essie. Reply I'm a Brissie girl also, and getting married in 4 months. We're doing a similar thing to a lot of other couples – after the required rubbish about Australian Law, our celebrant is going to say: "The bride and groom would like to convey that in their eyes a marriage is a union between two people, to the exclusion of all others, regardless of their sex or what the Australian government stipulates." 2 agree Reply To the current language, add one word: THIS. At this point, I must remind you both of the solemn and binding nature of the relationship you are about to enter. [THIS] Marriage, as most of us understand it, is the voluntary and full commitment of a man to a woman and a woman to a man. It is made in the deepest sense, to the exclusion of all others and will be entered into with the desire, the hope and the firm intention that it will last. Then I'd add additional language afterwards that is inclusive of all, as so many have suggested. Because it's not inaccurate, and it pushes the line a only a tiny tiny bit in the way of legality. Reply Unfortunately, changing one word is not allowed. The monitum may not be changed at all. You are also on shaky legal ground if you make a statement within the wedding ceremony that could be construed as not taking the marriage act seriously. It sucks, but if you want to be legally married, you need to follow the letter of the law. You are perfectly within your rights to make a statement, but if it is within the wedding ceremony itself, you need to be very careful. Reply My celebrant has advised me that we are permitted to change the wording to say 'this marriage is…', or 'according to the law in Australia…', but the requirement is that we need to say that 'between a man and a woman crap' Reply I think if you checked with the Attorney General's Department, they might say that your celebrant is wrong. But fundamentally, it is only going to be a problem if someone objects to the marriage on the grounds that the monitum was changed. Pretty unlikely, but I take the view that I don't want anyone to have any grounds to object to a marriage on legal grounds. Better safe than sorry! I'm sure you'll have a wonderful wedding, no matter what 🙂 3 agree Reply Which, as it appears, Rainy Day already said. Great minds! (It helps that I work in the language-massaging legal industry.) Reply Perhaps you could have the celebrant say the legal piece before the ceremony, as the wording of the law gives no frame of time as to when it has to be included, only who has to be present. Or, as someone else suggested, after, during the signing. It's a sucky law, but unfortunately with the way of politics in Australia at the moment, there is little hope of our politicians suddenly doing a backflip, as nice as that would be.. Reply Can you just blast music over that part of the ceremony? Maybe have someone stand behind the celebrant with a boom box, John Cusack in Say Anything style, and play "What's So Funny 'Bout Peace, Love and Understanding" at max volume? The law says the celebrant has to say it, but does anyone have to actually be able to hear it? 1 agrees Reply Yes actually they do 🙁 Reply I'm guessing that applies to Unitarian ministers at the least. 😀 Reply I was adament we weren't having "between a man and a woman" at any point in our wedding ceremony, we have too many gay friends and my twin is trans-gender so even the distinction of hetero / same sex wedding is problematic. Even though same sex marriage is legal here, I still can't agree that a civil partnership equals a marriage- it should, the rights in law are the same, why call it something else? In the end, we used the wording from the suggested civil service partnership, as it actually reflected our values and equality rather than leaning on tradition, although the registrar did make a point of asking Kai- whether "she was a miss or mrs" to put next to the entry in the register and got the reply "mr" 😮 Reply at our wedding (in Australia) our celebrant said that stupid mandatory statement and then followed immediately with " lisa and richard hope for a day in the not too distant future where marriage is an option for all" It was really important to us that this clarification was made and I think the more people recognising this in their ceremonies the better – our celebrant went on and on at us how it wasnt neccessary and that our gay friends would not expect it but i think she was totally losing the point – needless to say I made it very clear that it was my way or the highway. Anyway she happily said it in the end and it was a beautiful ceremony. 1 agrees Reply We have a female best man walking down the aisle with a girl, followed by m/f, followed by two guys. There will be a fair contingent of our gay friends present, and while I'm not far enough into my wedding planning to know if such statements are included in Ireland, we will be adding some words in recognition of our friends inability to marry, or adopt under the new 'civil partnership' that is being introduced. Thanks for a relevant and concerning post. Reply wait, what does the I in GLBTI stand for? Reply Reply The "I" stands for intersex. Reply This has been a very helpful discussion! I am Adelaide girl getting married in late march and still trying to figure out what the hell were going to say at the ceremony. That legal stuff we HAVE to say has always annoyed me, but I haven't been able to think of another way to say it or add to it. I am definitely going to include something like this in our ceremony. Thank you thank you! Reply i totally and completely agree with same sex marriage. i believe that marriage is a forever bond between two people who love each other. I'm not gay but I support the cause. I'm following closely with the fight against prop 8 in the US, and will do anything to get it overturned. It's completely unfair to target a certain group just because of their sexual orientation. Whatever happened to freedom for all – regardless of sex, race, religion etc? Also, what happened to separation of church and state??? Laws for our government shouldn't be based on religion – but what is best for all. Courtney: i love the white knot idea….do you know where I can get them? Reply i totally and completely agree with same sex marriage. i believe that marriage is a forever bond between two people who love each other. I'm not gay but I support the cause. I'm following closely with the fight against prop 8 in the US, and will do anything to get it overturned. It's completely unfair to target a certain group just because of their sexual orientation. Whatever happened to freedom for all – regardless of sex, race, religion etc? Also, what happened to separation of church and state??? Laws for our government shouldn't be based on religion – but what is best for all. Courtney: i love the white knot idea….do you know where I can get them? 1 agrees Reply i'm from WA. we just met with our celebrant and i asked if we could add the sentence saying that we are "both grateful for the right to marry and we hope that one day the law will allow that same right to everyone". FH was a bit surprised that i felt so strongly about making this stand during our wedding ceremony, but thankfully he's totally fine with it. one of my oldest friends is coming with her female fiance and they will no doubt be grateful for the small gesture. i wonder whether the conservatives will make any comments to us afterwards, i'll be interested to see the responses. Reply The venue where my future husband and I are having our wedding requires us to make a donation to any 'charity' (meaning non-profit) of our choice, which the members then vote on to approve. We have chosen to make our donation to Basic Rights Oregon, which is an organization that fights for marriage equality; we decided to go an extra step and have a little donation box, too. That is how we have decided to honor our LGBTQ (etc) brothers and sisters with our privilege. It's small, but it might keep you sane. Reply I'd love to hear a response to Lisa's (post 68) post. I'd heard recently that the phrase 'between a man and a woman' was no longer required as part of the service, but I guess I was wrong. I plan to get married next year, my brother is gay, and I would love to leave out those words as one day I'd love to see my brother and brother in law be legally married. Reply one thing i was thinking of doing is during the signing of the cirtificates we could play the song "A Thousand Sweet Kisses" from teh musical RENT. its a beautiful song sung by a couple on the show. One being Male and the other one transgender (or intersex, im sorry i dont know the propper terminology) i love that song and along with some words in the ceremony, i think we can help put our point accross. Reply My Beautiful Fiance(M) and I(F) have decided to have a commitment ceremony instead of a legal one since De Facto laws are almost at a stage of equality with marriage now. We believe that all couples should be able to get married, but we are also polyamorous, so the other part of that Must-Include phrase "to the exclusion of all others" doesn't sit right with us either. We know our special day will still be just as wonderful for our family and friends to enjoy. Reply Read more comments 1 2 › Join the conversation Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Sign me up for your offbeat awesomeness newsletter! No-drama comment policy Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy. Biz owners & wedding bloggers Please just use your real name in your comment, not your business name or blog title. Our comments are not the place to pimp your website. If you want to promote your stuff on Offbeat Bride, join us as an advertiser instead.