On the weekend I went to a wedding which was quite lovely. The bride looked beautiful. The groom wore a kilt. (He’s Scottish. There was much bagpiping.)
However. During the ceremony, the celebrant announced that marriage is “the union of a man and a woman, to the exclusion of all others”. My boyfriend and I rolled our eyes at each other, but we’ve been to enough weddings together in the last several years to know that this line wasn’t a passive-aggressive dig from the newlyweds or a last-minute insertion from a crazy celebrant. The law demands celebrants say it (a requirement added in 2004, when former prime minister and evil reptile John Howard amended the Marriage Act).
Later in the night, the bride – who, again, looked beautiful, and who I’ve known since I was 10 – approached me and my boyfriend. She kindly apologised for the “exclusion” line. She had asked the celebrant not to say it, but it’s a legal requirement – if it’s not said at one’s wedding, one’s marriage could be deemed invalid.
So this is the state of things in Australia: not only is same-sex marriage off the cards in the short-term, but opposite-sex couples are forced to insert nasty reminders of bigotry into their marriage ceremony even if they personally support same-sex marriage ceremonies.
What a sad, frustrating, backwards little country we live in.