In two weeks a major event is happening in my life. I say major, but it’s the planning of something major rather than the major event itself. It’s me & my partner of the last decade planning the day in which we commit to spending the rest of our lives together.
The reasons we’re getting married are as complex as love, as simple as tax and as weird as ‘it’s what you’re meant to do at this stage’.
Last year I popped the question in New York and now we’re gearing up for the planning and spending-of-parental-money that comes with getting married. That planning begins in two weeks when we jet off to a sun-kissed island to find venues & what-nots for the day itself.
Neither of us are religious or particularly sentimental so the marriage will take place in a sunny location (so, not Ireland) with a few close friends & family with as close to an open bar as we can get. There won’t be a priest in attendance.
20 years ago people would have said our marriage was a sham, a disgrace and any children born within it would have been bastard children of two heathens. That’s because we don’t beleive in god. Now, thankfully, that attitude has shifted and in the eyes of the state we’re lovely people trying to bind our families & selves together in legal matrimony. It’s all very normal.
My point here is that two people getting married to be recognised by the legal system is important. There’s tax reasons to get married. There’s also next-of-kin reasons to get married. And obviously, there’s love. It’s much easier to buy a house as a couple. It’s much easier to raise kids as a couple. etc. etc. etc.
I refuse to believe anyone reading up to this point would be incensed by anything I’ve said so far. Even the most religious of folks seem to be on board with non-religious marriage. Anyone reading up to this point will probably note that not a single mention of gender has come up. That’s the way it should be.
I mentioned various reasons to get married (love, tax, next-of-kin stuff, etc.) & all of these are valid, useful reasons to get married. They’re also moderately obvious & public reasons to get married. There’s also distinctly private, intimate reasons to get married. And that’s because two people are, in effect, becoming one. When my partner & I get married next year (bookings pending) it’ll be a great event shared with a lot of people. But it’s our day, and the following day no one will really care & they’ll move on. We will. And that’s the way it should be.
No one outside of the wedding itself will know or care that we got married. It won’t affect anyone. It’s for us, by us. That’s the way it should be. The only weddings that truly disrupt people are royal ones because they shut down roads for it. Otherwise, the event of a marriage between two folks is an entirely private event that no one really knows or cares about & disrupts virtually no one else. And that’s the way it should be.
Yet somehow my marriage, because I’m a man marrying a woman, feels like a privilege. Other people can’t do this because they’re not exclusively a mix of man & woman. They’re men & men or women & women. As such they can’t get to express their lifelong commitment to each other, recognised by the state. They can’t get the tax benefits (I’ve mentioned this enough times now to deserve a smack from my wife-to-be), have a next-of-kin of their choosing, or do all the normal things a couple gets to do. All because someone else thinks it’ll disrupt their lives. Much like 20 years ago when someone thought a non-religious couple shouldn’t wed because it might disrupt someone else.
Expressing a commitment like this shouldn’t be a privilege. It should be a right. And that’s why everyone should vote yes.