I haven’t tallied them, but suspect I’ve married near a thousand couples in my time. I think I’ve pretty much seen it all. I’ve had weddings interrupted by angry parents, dogs in wedding parties and one bride who turned up the day after the wedding to tell me she’d fallen in love with me. (I thought she had maintained some piercing eye contact through the ceremony)
Some couples didn’t make it. In most cases, the wedding day was the beginning of the greatest adventure of their lives. I love weddings mostly because being married has been the rock and foundation of my life. I know marriage is not for everyone, but for me it has created the safety and support from which I could spread my wings, and I want everyone to have the chance to experience this.
At weddings, I often use Celtic blessings like this one,
May you always have walls for the winds,
a roof for the rain, tea beside the fire,
laughter to cheer you, those you love near you,
and all your heart might desire.
This is one of my favourite Irish blessings. I’ve used it along with a Celtic handfasting, binding the wrists of a couple with a garland of greenery as a sign of unity. It’s where we get the expression “tying the knot”.
I love being married, I love weddings and I love all things Irish. So you can imagine how pleased I was when the Irish overwhelmingly approved of same sex marriage last week.
My main reason to support marriage equality is that I have experienced healthy marriage and I want everyone who wants to, to have the opportunity to experience it.
Most of the resistance to this inevitable tide toward global marriage equality, state by state, country by country, is from religious people who feel that the essence of the marriage tradition is man and woman. I see something quite different in the traditions. I don’t think it’s the man/woman combination that is essential to marriage. It’s the two and not being alone. The essential ingredient in a marriage is commitment to one person in relationship. Whether that person is same or opposite gender is secondary. It’s in the genes, and no reason for judgment or legal exclusion.
Hendrik Hertzberg (of The New Yorker) said,“Marriage should be between a spouse and a spouse, not a gender and a gender.” YES!
I’m hot on this issue because there is a lot at stake for a lot of people and for society as a whole. I saw the movie The Imitation Game last week. It tells the true story of Alan Turin, a genius who saved millions of lives in WWII due to his mathematical genius. His work was top secret, and his sexuality had to be kept secret too because it was illegal at the time. When he was “found out”, he was chemically castrated for his “crime” and then took his life a year later.
Prejudice such as this robs the world of genius, and laws that discriminate against same sex couples robs the world of more secure relationships to build secure society on.
The positive to come out of the tragic story is that we have progressed a long way since the 1950s. We don’t castrate and imprison gay people. It’s embarrassing to us as we look back. In 3o years our kids and their kids will find it embarrassing that we didn’t let same sex couples get married.
Ireland has voted to be on the right side of history, an inevitable movement toward greater equality. The rest of the world should follow suit and get on the right side of history as well. Well done Ireland and thanks for the inspiration.