Why do we need same sex marriage?

Discuss church-state separation issues that are relevant in Ireland.
UDS
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Re: Why do we need same sex marriage?

Post by UDS » Mon Apr 20, 2009 2:24 am

DollarLama wrote:Two points: Marriage came into existence when hunter-gathering was replaced by farming, 13,000-odd years ago. With a surplus of production and specialisation of roles came the concept of women as chattels. A man paid a dowry to have (some degree of) a guarantee to exclusive sexual access to a particular woman. (Today, it's traditional for the bride's family to pay for a large chunk of the cost of a wedding - effectively a dowry.)

UDS fails to recognise that the purpose of marriage as we know it is to secure inheritance of the resources of a given couple. Remember the inheritance rights which illegitimate children had, until recently.
I don’t think this is generally true. Aboriginal Australian peoples, until contact with Europeans, and for some time afterwards, all lived hunter-gatherer lifestyles, involving minimal or no cultivation, and no concept at all of private property or of inheritance. Yet they all practised marriage. I think specialisation of roles – which Aboriginal societies did have – may have had something to do with this, but specialisation is as old as – and older than - the human species.
DollarLama wrote: A couple "intending to marry, exchange formal marriage vows in public, in the presence of witnesses, [doing] that in a fashion which means that they now consider themselves married, their families consider them married, their friends consider them married and the community considers them married" has absolutely no legal standing whatsoever. I could set up such a ceremony under a 100 year old oak tree; that ceremony has no legal value. Consequently the assertion that "a ceremony [...] in a place that the state chooses [is] oppressive." has no merit.

Currently, church weddings conflate the religious ceremony and the civil ceremony; in a church wedding, the legally binding ceremony takes place out of public view in a small side-chamber.
A common mistake, but a mistake nonetheless. Whether in a registry office or a church, synagogue or temple, from the point of view of the state it is the exchange of vows before witnesses and a celebrant which constitutes the legal, binding marriage. If the couple and the celebrant fail to complete the registration paperwork and send it in to the registrar, they have committed the offence of failing to register the marriage, but the couple are still legally married – as they will discover, should one of them attempt to marry someone else without first obtaining a divorce.

Marriages get registered because people have got married. People do not get married because they have registered their marriage.
UDS wrote:Births get registered without the state insisting that everyone has to be born in the registrar’s office; likewise deaths. So I see no need for a big deal about marriages not happening in a registry office.
DollarLama wrote:This is utterly disingenuous; births are not registered in churches.
That’s because births generally don’t take place in churches. They do often take place in maternity hospitals, and the registration paperwork gets completed there.
UDS wrote:just checked what the law is here. Churches do seem to favoured somewhat by the process. Every marriage must be witnessed a person who is on the Register of Solemnisers. You can download the Register here. http://www.groireland.ie/Register_of_Solemnisers.xls
Notice how every single organisation but one, on the list, is a religion. The only other organisation approved to oversee marriages is the HSE. So in other words, religious organisations are being granted special powers in the area of marriage that other private organisations arent granted.

My impression is that the law is designed to protect the earnings of churchs and hotels. Other venues and organisations are kept out of the market. Look at the list of requirements for marriage venues here. It seems designed to direct business towards hotels, and away from free venues. Youre not allowed to get married outdoors, ie a park or garden. Youre not allowed to get married at home or at someone elses home. Youre not even allowed to get married in a church, unless its a religious ceremony! You really only have three choices, a church, a hotel, or the registry office.
In theory anywhere can be approved as a venue for the celebration of marriages, but the Minister’s guidelines as to what she will approve indicate that she will only approve indoor venues. (Given the Irish climate, I can see the point.) The venue has to be open to the public (the whole point of marriage is that it is celebrated in public, and anyone can go to any wedding) so this rules out private homes. The Minister expects public liability insurance, access for people with disabilities, and compliance with planning, fire safety and public health and safety requirements, etc. You can see the point of this, but it obviously gives hotels, conference centres, stately homes, etc a distinct advantage. Getting a venue approved for a one-off ceremony would be very expensive, so only property-owners in the hospitality/catering business are going to bother.

Churches, etc, are at an advantage; they can approve their own venues (provided they are public), and they can approve outdoor venues (though I’m not aware if any do).

Hobbesianworldview is correct that the system favours churches and religious bodies. Apart from the capacity to approve their own venues, only a religious body or a Health Board can apply to have a person’s name put on the register of solemnisers. Health Boards can only apply to have their own employees registered, and religious bodies can only apply to have their own members registered. Hence if the Humanist Association of Ireland or a similar body wanted to get one of their own officers registered to celebrate weddings, they couldn’t.

These venue and solemnizer requirements are why a ceremony celebrated by DollarLama under an oak tree will not be recognised by the state. I don't see that the injustice to DollarLama and other lovers of oak trees, though, would be at all remedied by the state refusing to recognise marriages celebrated in churches. If in fact the community wants marriages celebrated by Dollarlama under oak trees, why should they not have them? Provided DollarLama undertakes to provide a supply of umbrellas just in case, of course.
Hobbesian World View
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Re: Why do we need same sex marriage?

Post by Hobbesian World View » Mon Apr 20, 2009 8:50 am

UDS wrote:Hobbesianworldview is correct that the system favours churches and religious bodies.
You agree with me that churches are advantaged by the system but you dont seem to have a problem with that! What kind of atheist are you?

Isnt it obvious that that is a problem? The marriage business sustains these religious organisations financially and supports their brand identity and community presence. Therefore its taking longer for these organisations to wither away and die, than if they didnt control the marriage business.
UDS
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Re: Why do we need same sex marriage?

Post by UDS » Mon Apr 20, 2009 9:34 am

I'm not actually an atheist.

Nevertheless, I do see the churchs' adavantage as a problem (and as unjustifiable). It's just that my solution to the problem is different from yours. You would accord religious groups the same treatment as the non-religious currently get. I would accord the non-religious the same treament that the religious currently get. Both solutions acheive equality of treatment, but mine does so by giving as many people as possible the right to celebrate their weddings as they wish, whereas you do so by giving nobody the right to celebrate their weddings as they would wish. Your approach doesn't appeal to me; it seems to me restrictive for no good reason. Your approach also stems from an assumption - that marriage is essentially something created.owned by the state, and that everyone who celebrates marriage does so ultimately as an agent of the state - which I don't share. I see marraige as a social reality which precedes the state (and the church) and which the state (and the church) diminish themselves by refusing to recognise.
mkaobrih
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Re: Why do we need same sex marriage?

Post by mkaobrih » Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:45 pm

Hobbesian World View wrote:
UDS wrote: What kind of atheist are you?
UDS has previously stated that he/she is not an atheist - but one of our reasonable Catholics or Christians. Personably - I like the input
The church complains of persecution when it's not allowed to persecute.
denice
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Re: Why do we need same sex marriage?

Post by denice » Thu Apr 23, 2009 12:06 pm

This is a great topic, we are all equals under the law of our country but it picks and chooses who to discriminate against. gay marriage needs to be legalised immediatly its is only fair being gay isint a disease its a way of life and they should not be treated any differently than any other citizen, the only plus about getting married is that your taxes are lowered, but even for us as atheist we should be aloud have a union to a person without having religion involved we should have the same rights as a husband and wife..... did anyone go to the parade the other day great turnout ....
Feardorcha
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Re: Why do we need same sex marriage?

Post by Feardorcha » Mon May 04, 2009 9:58 am

I agree with Denice. It's interesting that whenever a gay couple want to get married, the whole institution and its history has to be analysed.
Marriage is not just a legal contract. It is a complex social mechanism by which people join their lives to each other and declare it before their families, friends and society.
I'm looking forward to being invited to my first gay marriage - one day.
marklen
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Re: Why do we need same sex marriage?

Post by marklen » Mon May 04, 2009 3:06 pm

I used to be of the view that legal marriage was unnecessary, if people want to live together than the state has no say in that. Then I got married!

The bureaucratic hoops I had to jump through (British born Irish citizen marrying a Brazilian citizen in Brazil and then coming to live in Ireland - the paperwork alone took 4 months, the entire process 3 years), gave me a good overview of common marriage law (as it applies in most of the world). I have read up it on and off since.

A legal framework for marriage is important.

It isn't just about tax efficiency (as some people characterise it), but rather the rights of each partner in the event of death or incapacity of the other, and the rights of the children - as recognised by others not party to the contract itself. There's a whole body of law built up which can not be replaced with a mere contract. As individuals the partners would have obligations under the contract, but you and your partner can't sign a contract that places obligations on government departments, hospitals, jails, schools, other individuals and private companies.

In addition abandonment and polygamy are crimes. Whether you agree they are minor or serious crimes or not (and truth it - it depends on the circumstances), they have victims. Violation of a contract won't (generally) result in a punishable criminal offence.

Same sex marriage is needed, irrespective of what you call it.

Calling it "civil union" is not terribly relevant. Whatever "civil union" legislation exists will have to enshrine in law that all rights afford to married couples in legislation and common law, all government bodies, etc. recognise "civil union" as marriage. It essentially creates two words with the same meaning in law.

As an aside...
I was very annoyed to read about the requirement that only religious ceremonies can be held in churches. I need to find out how they define "religious" and "church", and see if one location can be registered permanently. I had this great business idea of buying a church and making it a marriage venue for "alternative" religious ceremonies - i.e. minority religions and non-religious. Bring your own celebrant or choose from our list. I was thinking of doing Catholic "look-a-like" ceremonies, for people who want a ceremony their Gran will recognise, but who don't fancy attending pre-marriage courses (stories abound of Nuns explaining condom use). If you want it 100% Kosher except for the "Bat out of Hell" music while you walk up the aisle, OK by us! I could make some side deals with local hotels, a marquee provider, and some caterers, and actually do the whole wedding as a turn key service. Eventually I would have expanded into naming ceremonies and funerals. Actually, this was a half serious business idea, just haven't had time to research it. I still take marriage seriously, but the legal part is really only 4 names on a piece of paper, and the law does the hard work for you, BUT the ceremonial part is a gold mine, and the RCC needs some competition!
Hobbesian World View
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Re: Why do we need same sex marriage?

Post by Hobbesian World View » Mon May 04, 2009 3:55 pm

marklen wrote:I was very annoyed to read about the requirement that only religious ceremonies can be held in churches. I need to find out how they define "religious" and "church", and see if one location can be registered permanently.
Short of starting your own religion, or building a church style building from scratch. I dont think youll get away with it. The marriage venue guidelines are designed very deliberately to stop people bypassing the church. Weddings are really big business and the clerics dont want anyone else muscling in on their business.
marklen wrote:Eventually I would have expanded into naming ceremonies and funerals.
Im starting to wonder if there are any similar onerous restrictions on placed funeral venues. I know they were very successful at keeping the crematoriums out of ireland, for many years. I think they used the planning laws as the mechanism.
Feardorcha
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Re: Why do we need same sex marriage?

Post by Feardorcha » Mon May 04, 2009 4:07 pm

Our friends over the the Humanist website offer non-religious ceremonies for marriages and funerals.
Hobbesian World View
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Re: Why do we need same sex marriage?

Post by Hobbesian World View » Mon May 04, 2009 4:11 pm

Feardorcha wrote:Our friends over the the Humanist website offer non-religious ceremonies for marriages
But you would still have to attend the registration office, since there is no humanist on the approved List of Solemnisers.
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