I did threaten to post non-music stuff regarding my personal thinking, so I’ll share the following thoughts on Ireland’s decision to recognize same-sex marriage.
“Why any government is in the marrying business is beyond me…..”
This comment (on a banjo forum, of all places) puzzled me. And so I post herewith my response, edited but slightly from what I posted there.
It seems to me that the explanation to the poster of this statement is quite apparent: States recognize marriage because it is the state that must deal with the legal issues that accompany marriage: Property ownership, divorce, taxes, inheritance, parental rights, cohabitation, etc. are some of those issues.
When a church takes on the role of enforcing such laws, one has a theocracy, and for most of us in the US, that is anathema, as we comprise so many different religious beliefs. Any single religion’s laws would be totally irrelevant and thus unjust to many people.
There are, of course, religious institutions that recognize various states of “holy matrimony,” but couples can be, and often are (my wife and me, for example) married without involving religion whatsoever. Thus, if a club or a church decides to pronounce a couple as “married,” it falls to the state to decide what this means vis-à-vis its laws. The institution that “married” the couple (or group) has absolutely no say in those legal aspects, and can figuratively wash its hands of the matter if it so wishes. By definition, it is only the state’s recognition that determines if a couple is “legally married.”
Right now, in my State of residence, North Carolina, any “ordained minister” can perform a legal marriage ceremony. Some years ago, my wife joined the Church of the Latter Day Dude and is ordained as a “Priestess.” She has performed marriages in NC, marriages which remain fully accepted as legal. Later, I joined an organization called GodSwill Ministries and am ordained in that “church.” I, too, can legally perform marriages in NC (though I have not yet done so, I am available, of course!).
Throughout civilization, a couple’s pledge to each other–frequently in the presence of friends and family–has been “marriage” enough for all romantic and moral purposes. Only with the advent of organized churches was this somehow assimilated into their purview.
What the majority in Ireland has decided is legally to recognize marriages of same-sex couples and grant them the same legal consideration as any other married people. Who else should we wish to have such legal say?