Recommendation 3:

Term of Reference 
(c) 
potential amendments to improve the effect of the bill and the likelihood of achieving the support of the Senate
 
The ICCA supports this recommendation made by the Coalition of Celebrant Associations (CoCA) Inc. in its submission to the Select Committee on the Exposure Draft of the Marriage Amendment (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill.

Recommendation 3: 

T
hat 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.”


Why is this an issue?

Child and forced marriage is a growing concern in Australia. (4)

Rationale:
  1. As provided in the Coalition of Celebrant Associations (CoCA) Inc.’s submission to Select Committee on the Exposure Draft of the Marriage Amendment (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill, especially as regards the public education consequences of the definition of marriage.

  2. As noted in the preamble, the role of ceremonies in society is to “express, reinforce, and transmit important moral and social values.”  

    One of these is that marriage, with its historical roots in the acquisition of sexual, inheritance and property rights requires the parties to the marriage to be of adult maturity.

    If the definition is to be changed, this adult status needs to be upheld in the definition of marriage in the same way as it is held currently. 

    Legal arguments about one of the parties being between the ages of 16 and 18 has not forced a change to the current definition of marriage, so neither should such arguments hold sway now.

  3. Child and Forced Marriage concerns in Australia warrant our national statement of the nature of marriage to be clear as to adult maturity, informed decision-making and free consent without coercion, intimidation and duress of any kind. 

  4. The public education value of this plain-English definition needs to be supported for the public good of all current and future Australian citizens.