Until our Australian laws are amended to reflect and recognise love between all humans regardless of gender, race or culture, I am honoured now, in addition to current Civil Marriage Ceremonies in Noosa and on the Sunshine Coast, to be able to perform not only a commitment ceremony acknowledging your unity, but also a legally binding civil partnership for which I am now registered under the 2011 Civil Partnerships Act.
I particularly relate to this definition of marriage given by Judge Margaret Marshall in Massachusetts when civil marriage was first recognised there.
“Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support; it brings stability to our society. For those who choose to marry, and for their children, marriage provides an abundance of legal, financial, and social benefits. In return it imposes weighty legal, financial, and social obligations….Without question; civil marriage enhances the “welfare of the community.” It is a “social institution of the highest importance.”
Marriage also bestows enormous private and social advantages on those who choose to marry. 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 fulfils 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.
A friend and colleague recently shared her favourite definition of marriage, thanks Patricia Quinn! given by Justice Anthony Kennedy of the US Supreme Court (when marriage equality became law) He said: “No Union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a martial union, two people become something greater than once they were”.
It is refreshing when I am asked at some weddings to mention the couples who cannot yet marry; these are a few words that I may include:
As a Civil Celebrant I am especially honoured today to officiate at this Sunshine Coast wedding ceremony with ……and…….. They are a young couple who completely embraces the concept of recognising love without barriers of gender. Sadly, at this moment in time the Australian government applies restrictions to who may marry and does not permit all couples who love each other to legally affirm their love, according to the Marriage Act which was written 55 years ago.
………….and………. feel privileged to be able to marry today as others sadly yet, cannot, we all look forward to the time which hopefully will be very soon when any 2 people regardless of gender orientation or persuasion, may share the same rights as ……..and………today.
Until that day, Noosa and the Sunshine Coast is the perfect place to share in a meaningful and joyous ceremony with the one you love with closest friends and family at the same time as making your union legally recognised. When our laws are changed it will be my pleasure to work with you both to ensure that your civil partnership is upgraded to a legally registered marriage.