To: Minister for Health (HSE controls Registry of Marriages)
Appoint State Marriage officers individually - not via religions/isms etc.
Enact a brand new system to replace the 'old' Registry of 'Solemnizers.
Anyone can apply and does not have to go 'via' any religious body or any other ism/body. The State's 'end' of the marriage licencing business should avoid religion/philosophy completely.
Why is this important?
I'd like to become a 'new' registered State Marriage Officer. Voluntarily I'm involved in a 'regenerate Tipp town' effort. If people wanted low fuss/cost weddings (once three months notice etc. followed) for a bit of local tourism I'd pick them up at Limerick Junction (the Railways crossroads of Ireland) whisk them to our deconsecrated Famine workhouse chapel/Glen of Aherlow/Rock of Cashel/Swiss cottage for a service.
Right now I am 'barred' from becoming a Solemnizer. More importantly - we may have voted for marriage equality - but the practicalities (which sends many tourist dollars abroad) of booking a solemnizer/officer is quite different. Many go for a church wedding now - not as their first choice - but because it's extremely difficult to find a solemnizer otherwise.
Here's a breakdown - online / HSE you'll see current list of approx. 5000 'approved' solemnizers.
76% of those were put on the list by virtue of being R. Catholic church priests (all men). There are say another 20% as 'religious - many some form of Christian , Jews, Muslims, Protestants and minority religions things like Celtic mystics, druids, witches etc all included.
That leaves say 4% deemed 'non religious'/secular.
For those who want a cold impersonal Registry office wedding during office hours only - not with friends at the weekend 3% of that 4% is HSE/civil servants for office hours/town hall weddings (which suit some - but others go midweek to get the paperwork only and get another celebrant/not on Solemnizer list for their weekend do with their friends - they do it not by choice that way). Of course we do 'hunt' some abroad with all this 'BS'. So now - below 1% - we are at what the State reckons will do you even if supply not meeting demand. Our 1% can only apply 'via' the Spiritualists or the Humanists. Both are philosophies/isms even if not religions. You can 'play along' and pretend you're a Spiritualist or a Humanist for the day - even though you might be against what they stand for. But that's it. You want non religious? OK - there's Registry office for you midweek if you don't want a wait. Don't like those? Contact the Humanists or Spiritualists. You don't really 'follow' their thing and don't like Registry idea. It's the big bad aeroplane for you. You don't want to answer a question about religion? Cultural catholic not a regular massgoer? Well lots of priests would prefer you'd go elsewhere (pity they have 3/4 of the 'supply' side cornered.
Let's see - you're a committed aethiest/agnostic/deist/no ism - don't want registry office - did you try Vegas? You're gay - well we know straight off 3/4 of them won't touch you even if you're a committed Catholic. That's why licences shouldn't be given via bodies/religions. You don't join the Humanists just so you can apply to join the Gardai - via the Humanists. The approved body approach is not fit for purpose/beyond patching up. A new system where any individual can apply. Gender quota'ed. I'd have national supply limits / usage monitoring, supply matched to preference demand whether by religion etc. Have some training and monitoring these new State Marriage Officials. Transition period where current Solemnizers can get onto new list. If say a priest doesnt want to reapply to the new system they continue doing church weddings - but - a reg. official maybe does the State's business in Church Registry etc.
In other countries it is a simple State function - uncoupled from religions - they are not 'approving bodies' etc.
We gave equal marriage to some of our citzens which they didn't have before. Now it's time for this bit of housekeeping to bring us into the 21st century.