While the news of a second marriage engagement in the family did stir up the obligatory emotions of great joy and celebration, part of me wanted to cry out in protest. Why did the happy couple of eight years suddenly feel the need to ‘legitimize’ their relationship in the eyes of God, the state and everyone around them? Why would any couple, for that matter?
Particularly in this Irish state, in which so many people have come to understand the dark shadows cast by the Catholic Church, I struggle to understand why we allow them to dictate our culture and traditions in such a way. Have we not moved away from permitting their sweaty hands to grip us? Evidently not.
Though we may pride ourselves to be a modern day nation, on days like this I struggle to find examples.
As I look to the government in power two adjectives come to mind; the first being ‘old’, and the second being ‘male’, as, overall, women account for 25 per cent of elected representatives in Ireland.
As I look at the empowerment of women in our society I see close to 4,000 women “illegally” travelling to the UK to get the abortion that their home denies them, even under the most difficult of circumstances.
As I look at the demography of marriages I witness only the privileged heterosexual couples being granted the right to celebrate, despite the fact that an overwhelming majority of 79% voted in April 2013 to recommend the Government to introduce marriage equality for same sex couples. Let’s hope these voices will be heard.
Moral arguments aside for one moment, what incentivises us to even go ahead with the enormous cost of marriage within the context of the tightened purse strings of today’s day in age? Ask Google and it will auto-correct your questions to ‘benefits of green tea’ or ‘benefits of coconut water’ before even asking the question of the benefits of marriage. Obviously it is not the question on everyone’s lips, and yet I want to know the answer. It’s more than just tax breaks, it’s also, importantly, about the question of social welfare upon your partner’s death and the legal status in relation to any children.
I will not deny any happy couple the right to celebrate their love of one another in front of family and friends. I will be there on the wedding days of each recently happily engaged couple in my family, sending them my best wishes from the bottom of my heart. But I also know that as long as the negative connotations of the Church have something to do with it, and as long as marriage is a right reserved only for the right type of couples, I will not be participating in the practice myself.
But hey, I better wait to be asked first before I have the luxury of mounting my moral high horse.