The reason there shouldn’t be a place in the law to allow celebrants to discriminate based on the same gender weddings

The legislative process to ensure equality of marriage is in progress. Celebrants of marriage look forward to the busiest wedding season in Australia’s history. However, with the new laws currently in place, the weddings of all couples will not be the same.

The private member’s bill, sponsored by Liberal Dean Smith, is being debated this morning in the Senate. Attorney General George Brandis has said he is seeking to modify the legislation in order to give religious protections to civil wedding celebrants.

If the amendment passes, the amendment will permit civil celebrants to decline to conduct a marriage ceremony due to their religious or moral convictions (as an earlier wedding amendment law was passed earlier in the year).

Allowing non-religious civil marriage celebrants to discriminate against one another is an unwise idea. This goes well beyond securing the freedom of religion.

My study of the laws governing marriage in Australia and civil wedding celebrants makes me believe that Brandis’ proposed changes would harm Australia’s popular civil marriage system by allowing unfair treatment of LGTBIQ clients. They’ll weaken equality in marriage and allow unfair, unjustified discrimination.

The right to deny the solemnization of wedding ceremonies to civil marriage celebrants interferes with the purpose and intent of Australia’s leading ceremony for civil weddings. This also undermines Australia’s long-standing pluralistic marriage system that was handed down from England.

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To comprehend the law of equality in marriage, it is beneficial to understand the background of unions in Australia.

Before 1973, when the first civil celebrant system was established, The majority of ceremonies for civil weddings were tame, simple, and formal and were conducted by state officials at registry offices.

The civil celebrancy program was initially set up by the Whitlam-era attorney-general, Lionel Murphy. It went under the publicity radar, unlike the no-fault divorce reforms debated and passed by the federal parliament at the same time.

One of the first Civil celebrants, Dally Messenger, the civil celebrant’s program provided an alternative to traditional wedding ceremonies that was respectful. Couples who were married could have the location of their ceremony with a dress code, symbols, and a celebrant who reflected their religious beliefs.

Murphy initially commissioned only an incredibly small number of civil wedding celebrants between 1973 and 1974. There are now around 9000 civil marriage celebrants who are registered in Australia. The civil celebrancy system, in conjunction with the secularization of Australian society, has made civil wedding ceremonies appealing and affordable for brides and grooms.

In other words, prior to Elvis’ Little Wedding Chapel in Vegas, We had Australia.

It is simple to find celebrants in Australia marketing services to promote weddings in gardens, marriages in family homes and weddings on the beach, skydiving weddings underwater, helicopters, and weddings that look almost naked (the celebrant claimed that their nakedness proved “there was nothing you wouldn’t do to be together”).

The possibility of allowing civil marriage celebrants to not conduct ceremonies for marriage due to their religious or moral convictions against marriages between couples of the same sex could compromise the main purpose of the civil ceremony program – to offer an alternative that is not humiliating to traditional marriage ceremonies.

It’s degrading to anyone to hear that they won’t be permitted to be married by celebrants due to the individual beliefs of the celebrant about their beliefs. The law shouldn’t allow this type of humiliation.

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The proposed exemption of civil marriage celebrants also erodes the long-standing tradition of the pluralistic law of marriage in Australia.

Since the colonial era, Australians have been able to choose between a religious wedding or a non-religious civil wedding. Both can be recognized as a legal marriage.

The system came from England, which is religion-based (Church of England, Jewish and Quaker marriages), and civil unions have been recognized since 1836.

Today, in Australia, it is a religious society that is required to be performed under the law according to the customs and rites of a wide variety of religions. Civil marriages are required to be conducted in compliance with laws such as the Marriage Act and are much more rigorously enforced by law.

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