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.
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?