VOWS: What are the ‘Legal Vows’, or words in Subsection 45(2) of the Marriage Act?

Subsection 45(2) of the Marriage Act sets out the vows required to be said by parties to a civil marriage ceremony (where the authorised celebrant is not a minister of religion).

From 9 December 2017, the vows were changed to reflect the curent definition of marriage:

  • I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, A.B. (or C.D.), take thee, C.D. (or A.B.), to be my lawful wedded wife (or husband, or spouse).

This allows marrying couples to make a personal choice about the terms to be used in their marriage vows that best reflect their relationship.

The term ‘husband’ can refer to a male marriage partner, and ‘wife’ to a female marriage partner, regardless of the sex or gender of the person saying the vows.

The term ‘spouse’ can refer to a male, female, intersex, non-binary gender or transgender person.

Subsection 45(2) requires that each party say to the other, in the presence of an authorised celebrant (who is not a minister of religion) and the witnesses, the words:

These words must be included in the ceremony. They are the minimum words which must be exchanged by the couple to ensure that they fully understand the nature of the ceremony and that they are marrying each other.


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1 Comment

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