Judge sets out potential redraft of Acts
In her landmark judgment, Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons set out draft declarations of how the Marriage Act and Matrimonial Clauses Act could be reformulated in light of the ruling.
The judge also prefaced her suggestions by saying “I will hear from counsel on the precise terms of the final Order.”
Firstly the definition of marriage would be inoperative to the extent that it contains the terms “one man and one woman” and reformulated to read: “the voluntary union for life of two persons to the exclusion of all others”.
Secondly she said it would be appropriate for the court to declare section 24 (b) of the Marriage Act to be inoperative to the extent it refers to “man” and “wife” and further reformulate that section to read “and each of the parties shall say to the other in the presence of witnesses ‘I call upon these persons here present to witness that I (AB) do take thee (BC) to be my lawfully wedded wife/husband/spouse'.”
Thirdly in the same vein, section 23 (4) of the Marriage Act should be reformulated to “I (AB) do take thee (CD) to be my lawfully wedded wife/husband/spouse”.
And fourthly because the Matrimonial Clauses Act reflects the common law definition of marriage, and for the reasons stated, it is appropriate for the court to declare section 15 (c) of the Act inoperative.