As I celebrant at every wedding I have to say the monitum. It is part of the marriage act and apart from the vows, it is the only thing that MUST be said. Full stop, end of story. The monitum along with the vows are the legal requirements of the marriage and the monitum must be said before the vows.
The monitum is:
I am duly authorised by law to solemnise marriages according to law.
Before you are joined in marriage in my presence and in the presence of these witnesses, I am to remind you of the solemn and binding nature of the relationship into which you are now about to enter.
Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.
It is a requirement by law and is clearly stated in the marriage act and if it is not said the wedding isn’t valid. Regardless of what you think or I think, it is the law. (Until they change the marriage act, whenever that day may be.) Ministers of religion do not have to say the monitum. Ministers of religion of recognised denominations and Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrants solemnising religious marriages may use any form of ceremony recognised as sufficient for the purpose by the religious body or organisation of which he or she is a minister. This means that the content of the ceremony and its form must have the formal approval and recognition of the religious body or organisation.
I have read quite a few forums recently that speak about the way that some couples feel about the monitum and they are not always happy with it. They feel the need to say something that represents what they think along with the monitum. Some couples want to say that this is the law and they soon hope that everyone should be allowed to marry whomever they wish. Some of the comments that I have read on these forums talk about how they are worried how some of their gay guests may feel about the wording, and some of them were saying that they feel that they need to clarify that this is the law, but not their view on marriage. There was quite a lot of debate on the forum and there were clearly two sides on this issue. There was the side of couples of the belief that their friends and family that were gay have been attending weddings for their whole lives and are more than aware of what the law is in this country and feel that drawing attention to the issue in the wedding ceremony might seem a bit odd and make some people feel more uncomfortable than anything. Then there was the other side of the argument that suggested that couples need to make a stand and have their celebrant make a statement about the way that they feel and some of the forums even suggested wording so that the couples could make it known that they do not agree with the statement of the monitum.
What do you think? Are you having a wedding and are you worried about how your gay guests may feel? Have you attended a wedding where a statement was made to speak about the couples belief or statement about the desire of the couple for marriage equality?
Thank-you again to the wonderful Vision House Photography for the use of the photos on this weeks blog. Check out their website and like them on facebook to see more of their stunning and award winning photos.