Marriage equality? All you get is a bit of cake and a hole in your wallet
It is heartening to see the waves of support for gay marriage. It shows an Irish society that is growing up. It seems obviously fair and right that if straight people can get married, why not gay people? But nobody cool seems to be getting married anymore. We're copping on to the fact that marriage is a rip-off. The number of nuptials is sliding and now marriage seems to be only for the desperate, religious or sad.
The notion that unmarried women are obsessed hellhags who'd boil countless bunnies in pursuit of the diamond is dead. Latest figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show 19,855 marriages were registered in 2011 - its lowest level for 13 years. In fact, the marriage rate has plummeted by more than 40pc since 1973 and is now well below the EU average. If divorce rates have fallen slightly, it is largely because there are fewer marriages to untangle.
Because of social change and transformed values, wedlock has become irrelevant. It's too old-fashioned an institution, a meaningless piece of paper, or as Oscar Wilde said, the triumph of "imagination over intelligence". Ours is a Tinder society, of quick-fix sex and impermanent relationships. We can live together, or hook up, or be friends with benefits, or simply boyfriend and girlfriend, and nobody minds.