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natblack
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Illegal vows put many marriages in doubt

Sat Aug 21, 2010 7:43 pm

http://www.smh.com.au/national/illegal- ... 138xx.html

THOUSANDS of marriages conducted by celebrants may be invalid because the wrong words have been used in the ceremony.

Celebrants must recite precise words from the Marriage Act for a wedding to be valid beyond dispute. But almost 80 per cent of the ceremonies the federal Attorney-General's department examined last year did not comply with requirements.

Of the 336 sample ceremonies submitted by celebrants as part of their five-yearly review, 261 did not comply with sections 45 and/or 46 of the act, a spokesman for the department said.

As well, 1339 celebrants have been deregistered or chosen to resign since September 2003 as a result of their performance review.

Celebrants say the problem is a symptom of the huge numbers entering the field since deregulation in 2003, and of ''cowboy'' trainers. Some also claim an overly legalistic approach is being imposed on celebrants.

''When I check out ceremonies for new celebrants, I do find large numbers are not 100 per cent within the law,'' said Keith Lammond, the president of Australian Marriage Celebrants, a professional association. ''The most common thing they get wrong is the vow.''

A training DVD produced by the department in 2008 says: ''The vows used in a marriage ceremony are legally crucial. Not following the requirements of section 45 in the vows can result in a void or invalid marriage. There are no exceptions to this.''

It would be up to the Family Court to declare a marriage invalid and this could affect wills, residence visas and bank loans.

But Tony Gelme, the president of the Coalition of Celebrant Associations, said it would be unlikely an incorrect wedding vow would constitute sufficient grounds to nullify a marriage.

A ''distraught'' celebrant told an online forum this month that the department had found the sample ceremony she submitted in 2007 was non-compliant and

had taken three years to inform her. ''I've conducted many, many ceremonies since [then].'' She said she was worried that the ceremonies she had performed were invalid.

According to the DVD, celebrants must say: ''I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, AB (or CD), take thee, CD (or AB) to be my lawful wedded wife (or husband).'' Or words to that effect.

''Words to that effect'' once gave celebrants leeway but since 2006-07 the department has imposed a narrow legal interpretation. The celebrant can leave out ''lawful'' or ''wedded'' but not both, and can change ''persons'' to ''people'' but not to ''family and friends''. The DVD also instructs that while ''spouse'' can be used, ''partner'' must not.

A particular problem, according to postings on the Australian Marriage Celebrants online forum, is that some celebrants put the vow in question form: ''AB do you take CD to be your lawful wedded wife?'' Though CD says ''I do'', Mr Lammond advises this may not be ''worth a cracker''. The ''asking'' was not a legal requirement, just a tradition, and did not constitute the vow, he told celebrants. Celebrants must also cite words from section 46 of the act, known as the ''monitum'', which include ''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''.

Since Parliament defined marriage narrowly in 2004 to rule out the possibility of gay unions, the department has disallowed the use of substitute words. ''You could reverse the order of 'man' and 'woman', but that is all,'' the DVD says.

Celebrants report that some couples seek to change section 46 because of sensitivity to gay friends or relatives. But a celebrant who wanted to oblige a couple was advised: ''It wasn't worth it.'' He risked being deregistered and the marriage might be void.

The number of celebrants has grown from about 2000 in 2003 when restrictions on appointments began to be lifted to 10,400 now. They are required to gain qualifications and attend professional development each year. Mr Gelme said tighter rules introduced this year had failed to rid the industry of rogue trainers. ''We have gone off the rails in allowing so many people to be badly trained.''
 
ellejay
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Re: Illegal vows put many marriages in doubt

Mon Aug 23, 2010 8:34 pm

I heard about this but wasn't sure what the reasons were so thanks for posting. I am 200% sure our ceremony was correct as our celebrant was very thorough about what needed to be included in the ceremony and what could be changed. :D

It's definitely something brides about to be married should double check in their ceremony wording.
 
Scarlett
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Re: Illegal vows put many marriages in doubt

Mon Aug 23, 2010 9:15 pm

natblack wrote:
According to the DVD, celebrants must say: ''I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, AB (or CD), take thee, CD (or AB) to be my lawful wedded wife (or husband).'' Or words to that effect.


Well that doesn't even make sense - why would the celebrant be saying "I, AB, take thee CD, to be my lawful wedded wife/husband" - that would have to be the wrods said by the bride or groom, not the celebrant???
 
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SmallNads
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Re: Illegal vows put many marriages in doubt

Mon Aug 23, 2010 9:59 pm

Scarlett wrote:
natblack wrote:
According to the DVD, celebrants must say: ''I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, AB (or CD), take thee, CD (or AB) to be my lawful wedded wife (or husband).'' Or words to that effect.


Well that doesn't even make sense - why would the celebrant be saying "I, AB, take thee CD, to be my lawful wedded wife/husband" - that would have to be the wrods said by the bride or groom, not the celebrant???


I thought the same thing. Maybe it's a "repeat after me" thing?
 
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Pixie Wings
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Re: Illegal vows put many marriages in doubt

Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:15 pm

Celebrants must also cite words from section 46 of the act, known as the ''monitum'', which include ''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''.


This is the bit that makes me sad. I wish I could leave this part out :(
 
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MoolieMoo
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Re: Illegal vows put many marriages in doubt

Sat Aug 28, 2010 9:28 pm

SO SILLY! it's the paperwork which makes you legally married.

Who in a government dept is going to watch thousands of wedding tapes? Here's a big fat pffftttt!

I'm angry that the law has been changed in order to frustrate, upset and exclude gays.

Makes me so MAD!
 
cheekypiscies

Re: Illegal vows put many marriages in doubt

Fri Sep 17, 2010 4:45 am

Can anyone point me in the direction of knowing if my marriage was legal or not legal? Where do I go to find this out? Im seriously hoping it wasnt/isnt!!! No kids involved, am preying with some luck we werent married so this seperation of 8yrs already is total freedom. Oh seriously people please help me out.
 
laura190778
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Re: Illegal vows put many marriages in doubt

Fri Apr 22, 2011 11:23 am

****.....am going to have to watch the dvd as I remember something about family & friends but nothing about persons present or anything like that...we got married in October 07....how do I find out if it's legal or not...and if not what the hell am I going to do about it??? AAARGH!!!
 
anaestmia
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Re: Illegal vows put many marriages in doubt

Sun Feb 19, 2012 7:58 pm

cheekypiscies wrote:
Can anyone point me in the direction of knowing if my marriage was legal or not legal? Where do I go to find this out? Im seriously hoping it wasnt/isnt!!! No kids involved, am preying with some luck we werent married so this seperation of 8yrs already is total freedom. Oh seriously people please help me out.

As was said in the article, good luck getting an enulment over it. I think the courts would say that, as the intent was clear...
 
Paladinoras
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Re: Illegal vows put many marriages in doubt

Tue Jul 03, 2012 7:29 pm

May I honestly say that this is quite silly. The fact that a few words can invalidate your marriage makes the whole thing seem more ridiculous than it should be.
 
roughcutdiamond
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Re: Illegal vows put many marriages in doubt

Wed Mar 13, 2013 10:53 am

I hope these links are of use to all those that are interested.

http://mydintedhalo.blogspot.com.au/201 ... tions.html
http://mydintedhalo.blogspot.com.au/201 ... -vows.html
http://mydintedhalo.blogspot.com.au/201 ... ws_12.html

As for the "monitum":
"The words ‘these witnesses’ should not be changed to ‘family and friends’ because that may not include everyone present."
"Given that the third sentence is the legal definition of marriage in Australia the words cannot be changed. Reversing the order of the words ‘man’ and ‘woman’ would be acceptable, but that is all."
"The definition of marriage in the Marriage Act is the law in Australia. While everyone is entitled to their individual view about such matters, Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrants and State and Territory Officers are authorised to solemnise marriages in accordance with the law. Such celebrants will need to explain carefully to the couple that, despite their view, they are not authorised to change the definition and have a legal obligation to state it during the ceremony. This means the authorised celebrant is not able to agree to such a request."
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