Each wedding has its own purpose, particular to the couple, their ways of being in the world, and their vision of life together as a married couple within the matrix of their family and friends, community and culture.
The institution of marriage is very old. And it has changed many times over the centuries.
From 9 December 2017, marriage in Australia has been redefined as ‘the union of 2 people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life’. The right to marry under Australian law is no longer determined by sex or gender. The two people may be known as husband, wife, partner and spouse. Glory be. ‘Spouse’ is Latin for ‘betrothed’. In Old French they spoke of being ‘espoused’. Thus we can use the old language in our own time, as all those couples who wish to marry enact the rites of the marriage sacrament in ceremonies of their choosing.
Lest we forget our history, five years earlier …
Magda Szubanski made a declaration for our common humanity in this press release issued on Valentine’s Day 2012. She came out with great courage, very publicly for herself and for marriage equality, claiming her belonging and simultaneously appearing live-to-air in The Project, where there could be no question of the interview being edited:
‘We fight taxes, fight wars for this country,
nurse you when you are sick,
make you laugh,
sing and dance for you,
play netball for you,
star in your movies,
cook your meals,
decorate your store windows.
And, chances are,
gay people designed
whatever it is you’re wearing.
All Australians, including gay Australians,
should have exactly the same rights,
including the right to love, marry
and take care of their partners’
My intention as a celebrant is to evoke the spirit of each marriage as the union of a loving couple, witnessed by their community, embodying the purpose, beliefs and values for their marriage, in the spirit of their union.