Success in marriage does not come merely through finding the right mate,
but through being the right mate. ~
Rabbi Barnett R. Brickner 1892-1958
We joined in the celebrations in New York when the law was passed allowing same-sex marriages. Our papers today are full of this subject and I guess it is pretty exciting and a huge step forward for many.
Here in New Zealand, we don’t have same-sex marriages but we do have Civil Unions. Civil union has been legal in New Zealand since April 26, 2005. In effect, the Act gives the same rights to those of the same-sex as married couples.
There were great celebrations here when the Act was passed, coupled with concern from many quarters as to what this would do to the institution of marriage. We have been aware that fewer couples marry today and there was discussion in our media recently on the future of marriage as the marriage rate has fallen to an all-time low. In 2010, there were 12.5 marriages for every 1000 people who weren’t married, the lowest rate since records began in the early 1960s. Compared to this, Civil unions registered in the same year were only about 1% of the number of marriages. So I don’t think those who preached hell and brimstone when the Act was passed have very much to worry about. Many people choose not to legalize their relationship for any number of reasons and people will still go on living together, whether as same-sex couples or heterosexual couples.
When the Act was passed concern was felt in our Historic Church by some of the volunteers and stakeholders, that we would be inundated with requests to hold these ceremonies in the Church. A note here, the church is still consecrated although it has no congregation and no regular services are held there now.
However, in the period I was the Wedding Coordinator we had only three Civil Unions and only one of which drew the attention of the media. That was a local politician who ‘wed’ his longtime partner.
So what does the future look like for gay marriages in New York? We read today in our newspaper that a wedding coordinator in Massachusetts was moving her business to New York City because many of her clients have been from New York. So will there be a great number of marriages? I guess we will have to wait and see once the euphoria dies down.
“The Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself”. ~
Author unknown, commonly attributed to Benjamin Franklin
- Civil Unions Stalled In Rhode Island (lezgetreal.com)
- “My baseline is a strong civil union that provides them the protections and the legal rights that…” (shortformblog.tumblr.com)
- Same Sex Marriage Is A Victory For All Of Us (thegloss.com)