Coalition of Celebrant Associations

Australia’s Peak Celebrant Body

Same sex marriage issues

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  • Comment Link Gordon Sparks Saturday, 16 December 2017 13:40

    If you register as a celebrant that does civil marriages and you have religious beliefs and only perform heterosexual marriages, who could be contacted when you receive hate mail, abusive phone calls, abuse over social media etc, because of your freedom of belief?

    No one should be subjected to abuse of any sort.

    The AGD does only deals with complaints about celebrants, not complaints about our couples or the public. The MLCS suggests the person could call the police, or the Human Rights Commission.

    A CoCA Delegates advice is if you receive abuse.

    1. Don't panic. Anyone with a public profile can expect the occasional crank email/letter/phone call but such pests are normally harmless and soon get bored with their abusive behaviour. Obviously specific and serious threats need to be taken seriously and that can take some persistent interaction with the authorities.
    2. The Police - what they can do is probably a bit limited but would depend on the situation.
    3. Your phone company can help with abusive phone calls,
    4. You can block people on social media
    5.Auspost can advise on managing mail.

  • Comment Link Margarita Wilson Monday, 11 December 2017 14:36

    I strongly object to civil celebrants being labeled as either "Celebrants" or "Religious Celebrants" depending on whether or not we are prepared to solemnise same sex marriages, for the following reasons:

    • Whether a celebrant's religious and/or moral principles are incompatible with SSM does not change the fact that the processing of all marriages - heterosexual or otherwise - will be the same.

    • The fact that the law has changed to allow couples with different sexual preferences to marry, does not justify discriminating against civil celebrants who choose to continue to solemnise only heterosexual marriages, by imposing on us the “Religious Celebrants” label which will falsely imply religious ceremonies.

    The discriminatory nature of such approach was clearly illustrated while getting ready for a wedding last Saturday (9/12/17), when the person who referred the couple to me, rudely stated that if I would not perform homosexual weddings, she would not refer anyone else to me.

    When I tried to point out that - far from having anything against homosexual people my decision was purely based on personal moral and religious grounds, she retorted that she did not want to hear it, turned her back on me and walked away.

    That was not the first, and I suspect it won’t be the last time that I am subjected to such unprovoked attack to my moral compass from people who refuse to consider that having different points of view should not be an obstacle to friendship any more than being from a different race or culture.
    Needless to say, I believe that such arrogance reflects on my former friend more than me. It will certainly NOT change my moral and/or religious values OR my friendly disposition towards all people, regardless of their religion or sexual orientation.

    • Clearly all celebrants’ moral and/or religious principles are as IRRELEVANT to our Celebrant status, as being say, vegetarian or believing in Santa Claus. Therefore, unless the processing of heterosexual marriages will differ from other legal marriages, being compelled to advertise as “religious” celebrants would be akin to being compelled to advertise other personal traits, such as our eating habits or belief that Santa will come all the way from the North Pole to drop our presents down the chimney.

    • A more relevant rule would be to expect ALL celebrants to advertise the type of ceremonies we are willing to perform (Heterosexual or otherwise) which is akin to say, a businessman recognised as a restauranteur, regardless of whether he serves Indian, Chinese or any other type food; or a clothing shop owner who deals only on men’s apparel without being labelled as misogynist.

    I do praise the four parliamentarians who had the courage to stand for their principles and vote NO to SSM rather than abstain or vote against their own convictions for fear of any consequences of an honest vote on their political career.


  • Comment Link Wendy marston Saturday, 09 December 2017 18:54

    Now that the inequality vote has been passed i am now forced to either register as a religious celebrant which changes the public perception of my position, marry people of the same sex regardless of the fact that I vehemently oppose it, or resign from being a celebrant. None of these options are ideal.

    This vote has now disadvantaged another group of people.


  • Comment Link Chris Temov Wednesday, 04 November 2015 00:17

    As a well educated and well informed nation isn't it about time we recognize this for what it is really about. This is a matter of civil rights not civil rites. Let's stop all of this mucking about and get this sorted once and for all. All Australians should be able to marry the person they love and I would happily marry any same sex couple when they are finally given the right.

  • Comment Link Rona Goold Wednesday, 29 July 2015 07:27

    I am concerned that many people do not know that (1) under section 47 and 113 religious celebrants already do not have to marry any couple and (2) marriage is a function of CIVIL law and started as this in europe. Religious celebrants and couples are free to add whatever extra beliefs they have, but not impose these on all citizens in a democracy. We already have a clash of religious beliefs and issues with child and forced marriage which are not addressed by the Marriage Act not requiring that aussie law being applied in all marriage ceremonies. Great work CoCA is raising these issues. The churches seem more concerned about consenting adult sexual behaviour than child or forced marriage!

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