Gay marriage bill: The word we’ll hear at weddings

But there’s another shift coming to union which means a brand new word may be popping up a lot more frequently in the wedding vows, although the right variety.

Under the current Marriage Act civil celebrants — that officiate at 75 percent of all Australian weddings — should make sure that the marrying couple utter the sentence: “I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, (insert name), take action, (insert their name), to be my lawful wedded wife (or husband)”.

‘I take thee to be my lawfully wedded spouse.’ Picture: Thinkstock

‘I take thee to be my lawfully married spouse’ Picture: ThinkstockSource:Supplied

In the current guidelines for union celebrants, by the Attorney-General’s division, the expression “spouse” could be substituted for “husband” and “wife” in the vows. However, a change in the Act’s wording can make this alternative choice explicit meaning “spouse” could become a far more popular choice.

In the draft legislation it says : “For the purposes of any Act, a individual is the spouse of another person (if of the identical sex or a different sex) if the individual is lawfully married to the other person.”

In which “husband” and “wife” today seem, it is suggested the legal terminology could alter to “husband”, “wife” or “spouse”.

It’s not just gay couples. Heterosexuals would be able to connect in also — if they do not wish to be known as “husband and wife” they’ll no longer must be. A couple will be able to say: “I require thee to be my lawful wedded spouse.”

The explanatory memorandum to the bill says: “This amendment will enable marrying couples to phrase their marriage vows in a fashion which best reflects their connection.”

Sydney celebrant Stephen Lee said he already has 10 gay couples in the novels waiting to be wed once the legislation change goes through.

“Now I will be requesting couples the way they wish to be known. Do I say, ‘I declare you husband and husband; wife and wife; lawfully married or spouses? ”’

But he doesn’t think spouse is going to be a popular term. “it is a small strange word. I believe people will stick with the conventional because if they’re not traditional they might not wish to get married anyway.”

Heterosexual couples will also be able to choose ‘spouses’ over ‘husband and wife’. Picture: iStock

Heterosexual couples will also be able to choose ‘spouses’ over ‘husband and wife’. Picture: iStockSource:Supplied

Mr Lee said he would just officiated at one wedding where “spouse” had been used, between a transgender person as well as their female spouse.

“The transgender spouse presented as female so as much as people may see it had been just two brides marrying but it was a man and a woman (for the goals of the legislation).”

Indeed, a principal reason the expression “spouse” has been pushed to be lawfully inside the Act is especially since it is gender neutral.

“These changes ensure that people that are legally recognised aside from male or female may use the gender neutral term ‘spouse’ to be correctly described in their wedding vows,” the memorandum states.

“The Australian Government recognises that individuals may identify, and be recognised within the neighborhood, as a gender aside from the sex they were assigned at birth or during childbirth, or even as a gender which isn’t completely male or female,” the notes.

The departure of the invoice will also have another change when it comes to gender, which may actually impact some couples that have divorced.

At present, happily married couples where one spouse then barks gender become trapped within a legal loophole that swiftly becomes a minefield.

It’s all down to birth certificates which are handled by the states, while union is governed by national law.

Liberal Senator Dean Smith has proposed the bill that would legalise same-sex marriage

Liberal Senator Dean Smith has proposed the bill that would legalise same-sex unionSource:Supplied

Under current legislation in the countries and territories, with the exception of South Australia and the ACT, in case a married man and woman turned into, for instance, a woman and woman, the nation can refuse to alter the birth certificate for the spouse who has changed gender. The reason being as to do so will, effectively, lead to a legally recognised same-sex union.

“Some individuals who entered into union within their previous sex or gender are faced with a decision between divorcing their spouse to be able to obtain records representing their gender identity, or maybe not using those records,” the bill’s explanatory memorandum notes.

Back in June the United Nations Human Rights Committee said Australia’s transgender “forced divorce” laws were in violation of international human rights legislation.

The union bill is likely to make amendments to the Sex Discrimination Act to protect against the lands and states from needing to alter the gender on a individual’s birth certificate that was formerly in a heterosexual union.

However, the state parliaments will have 12 months to make the changes themselves before they are trumped by national law.

WE’RE on the last lap of Australia’s extended travel towards same-sex union. As most of us understand, once gay Australians are permitted to wed, the definition of who may marry will no longer be “a man and a woman” but instead “two people”.