Summary of Recommendations

Recommendation 1:  

That the Marriage Act 1961 be amended to remove the requirement that the parties to the marriage be a “man and a woman”.  

Recommendation 2: 

That the recognition in Australia of 'foreign' same-sex marriages be enacted by the repeal of Subsection 88B  (4) and Section 88EA of the Marriage Act 1961  
 
Recommendation 3: 

That the definition of marriage in Part I—Preliminary, Section 5 Interpretation and all such associated references to marriage be amended to read: "marriage means the union of two adults to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.”
 
Recommendation 4:  

That, the Australian Parliament uphold the professional model of civil celebrancy as a role of “office or public trust under the Commonwealth” to ensure the highest standards of professional service to the Australian public, as introduced with the passing of the Marriage Amendment Bill 2002 with the support of all major parties.
 
Recommendation 5: 

 
That Section 47A as proposed in the exposure draft not be enacted.

Recommendation 6:

T
hat Subdivision C Marriage Celebrants be divided into two subdivisions – Subdivision C, Commonwealth civil celebrants and Subdivision D, Commonwealth religious celebrants - to enable the initial training and professional development of the two groups to be addressed discretely.

Recommendation 7: 

That the proposed amendment to Subsection 40 (2A) of the Sex Discrimination Act 1984, as proposed in the exposure draft not be enacted.

Recommendation 8: 

That if the government proceeds with Section 47A, then Section 47 (2) (i) read
“(i) longer notice of intention to marry than that required by this Act is given”.
 
Recommendation 9: 

That Sections 46 and 113 be modernised to ensure all celebrants authorised under the Act (whether offering religious or civil ceremonies) give a definition of marriage according to civil law, state whether they are authorised under the Act to conduct valid marriage, and if an un-authorised religious celebrant, that the couple is already legally married according to civil law.

Recommendation 10: 

That Sections 45 be modernised to ensure all marrying couples give consent to their marriage in their marriage ceremony (whether religious or civil) in the presence of their two witnesses and the marriage celebrant.   

Recommendation 11:  

That the regulation of all Subdivisions be reviewed to ensure that all authorised celebrants are required to:
  • complete a nationally accredited Vocational Education and Training unit of competency in marriage law prior to authorisation
  • when legislative changes, complete an annual professional development activity in marriage law, and pay an annual fee for their regulation.