A commitment ceremony is something that was widely understood to be the ceremony you can have when you are not allowed to get married – so was something that same-sex couples accepted as the wedding you have when you are not having a wedding.
However, a commitment ceremony can have great significance and is an option for everyone. It can be for anyone who prefers not to have the state or the church meddling in their relationship. How often have I heard de facto couples say “ We don’t need a piece of paper to say we are married” ? Yet they still want to make a statement to the community of their family and friends to formalize their union and acknowledge their desire and decision to share a life.
Some couples feel the security of their bonding much more strongly simply because it is not based on sanctions from an external authority. Such commitment is perhaps stronger because it does not rely on the act of legislation for its definition : a commitment ceremony comes from the heart, and the “marriage” occurs because you have declared it, not because the law has done so. Then “ marriage” is the word used in the lexicon to mean a binding, a union, the meeting of complementary and sympathetic forces, a pairing …not the definition of marriage “ according to law”.
In such ceremonies then the words of the law, the statements from the marriage act, are omitted and replaced with other words to indicate promises with no less binding or solemn intent than those stipulated in legislation.
A commitment ceremony is a choice.