THERE is no marriage until the official piece of paper is signed and witnessed.
That paper has enabled governments, employers, religious bodies and society to interfere and make rulings based on marriage.
If a male under 21 married, they immediately went on to full wages; their wives were not permitted to work.
Later, in the workforce, married women could not be on permanent staff, could not get superannuation.
Generations went to their graves referred to only as Mrs… male name… male surname.
Titles indicate married status for females only. Houses were in the name of the husband, as were the children.
Women needed their husband’s permission to obtain contraceptives. Children born outside marriage were ostracised.
Generations of people have gone to their graves listed as unmarried, divorced, widowed.
In the 1600s, the celebration with matron of honour, bridesmaids etc was for the landed strata in England to maintain the line of inheritance.
Others lived together and named themselves husband and wife.
The whole concept and language of marriage needs to be reviewed. Never again should it be used for titles, discrimination, interference or ostracisation.
That signed and witnessed piece of paper should be just that: a contract between two people.
LAVINIA TARRANT, Dianella.