Same-sex couples aren’t waiting to celebrate their love in front of friends and family, opting for commitment ceremonies despite the talk of legalised civil unions.

Canberra-based celebrant Jenny Koch has performed several same-sex commitment ceremonies in recent years and said interest was high and the boom isn’t slowing down.

“I’ve had more interest than I’ve been able to handle in terms of clashing bookings,” she said.

Because commitment ceremonies are not legally recognised a celebrant isn’t required. Koch said she tells couples they could use a family member if they wanted.

“Most people go for a professional celebrant because at the end of the day it’s their wedding, even though it’s not legally recognised.”

Koch said same-sex couples typically asked for exactly the same kind of service as she would offer a heterosexual couple.

“It’s really the same thing [as heterosexual marriage]. That’s how their friends and family take it. You still have proud fathers and teary mothers.”

New research published in Developmental Psychology last month found same-sex relationships were just as committed and satisfying as those of heterosexual couples.

Interest in civil or unofficial ceremonies by heterosexual couples has also risen. More than 50 percent of legally recognised ceremonies are now non-religious.

Koch said the exclusionary official language of a marriage ceremony has concerned many of her heterosexual clients.

“Celebrants are required by law to say the definition of marriage in Australia. It says quite explicitly that it has to be a man and woman,” she said.

“They didn’t want to offend their gay and lesbian friends who were going to be at the wedding. Unfortunately it is law and it has to be said.”

Couples seeking a commitment ceremony in NSW or the ACT can contact Jenny at [email protected]

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