Presenting the Mc-Marriage Burger at your nearest McDonalds!

25 06 2008

Will we soon see posters for the McMarriage burger? Only £1.99 at a store near you? Probably given the latest news that a couple from Cornwall in England went straight from their wedding ceremony to a McDonalds before heading on to the wedding reception. WTF?

Apparently the bride disliked buffet food but surely given that it was her wedding she could have arranged food that she actually liked!?

The response from McDonalds was hilarious. Check it out: “We all know that weddings can be stressful and we’re glad that the simple good value and great taste of our food can take some of the hassle out of the special day.” Mmm…yes perhaps the next generation of fast food addicts will make a stop at Maccy D’s on the church. I mean on your wedding day you dress up, surround yourself by your nearest and dearest and then what….cheapen the experience by a trip to a burger joint? Someone should have given the bride a good breakfast!

Amazingly this is not the first bridal party tucking into a Big Mac! A Welsh couple in 2002 had their wedding reception at McDonalds to save money, spending only £136.87 for the food and drinks for 33 guests! As Ireland is apparently heading into a recession should we expect to see bridal parties ahead of us in the drive thru’s? How far is too far when it comes to saving a few pennies and surely there are some days that should be special (i.e. not a McFlurry is sight!), regardless of budget.

Civil Partnership Bill Outline Unveiled in Ireland

24 06 2008

Same sex couples in Ireland have been waiting years for action from the Government on legislation in relation to civil partnerships. The first hint at positive action came today when the Government today approved the Heads of a Civil Partnership bill which, according to Dermot Ahern (Justice Minister) shows that the Government recognises the ‘‘many forms of relationships in modern society”. The Bill provides “for Civil Partnership Registration for same-sex couples, it will also provide certainty as to the status of cohabitation agreements, and a legal safety-net to people living in long term relationships who may otherwise be very vulnerable at the end of a relationship, whether through break-up or through bereavement.”

Driven by Senator David Norris (the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in Ireland), this Bill has been stalled since 2005. At that time the Government was criticised for attempting to kick the Civil Partnership Bill to the curb. They moved at a late stage to publish an ammendemnt to the Bill, thus grinding the process to a near halt. Senator Sheila Terry of the Fine Gael party stated that “It was clear that the Government wanted to stymie debate and delay the move towards equality.”

The Irish Government have been painfully slow to act on this issue leaving Ireland trailing the rest of Europe in terms of rights of legally recognising the relationships of same-sex couples. Other counties have had civil partnership legislation with several years, for example France (since 1999), Germany (since 2001) and even our nearest neighbour, the UK (since 2005). Despite the fact that this Bill is a step in the right direction it cannot be considered “equality” as under this bill same-sex couples won’t have the full right to marry due to the fact such rights “wouldn’t pass muster” under the Constitution according to Ahern.

The Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) welcomed the Bill but highlighted the fact that it does not provide legal protection for same-sex couples and their children. In a press release today Kieran Rose of GLEN stated “The proposals in the Heads of Bill however, do not provide for legal recognition of the many same-sex couples, particularly women, who are parenting children together, leaving these parents and their children outside the protection of the State”

This “Heads of Bill” is essentially an outline of what the government proposes to bring forward and in the coming months the Government will engage in consultation with other groups on this issue. It is hoped that a bill will go through the Dail (the Irish parliament) later this year.

Progress…but the wheels of Government are turning as if powered by a geriatric homophobic hamster.

Is commitment the new aphrodisiac?

24 06 2008

Gay, straight- everyone has got the commitment bug and all are hoisting up their white dresses (or suits as the case may be), and legging it full throttle to the altar. I was chatting to a friend last night and realised that, from a quick review of our circle of friends, three people under 25 years old have gotten engaged in the past two months. I am a firm believer in the fact that the only reason you should run to a church is if you’re being chased by a pack of angry villager complete with pitch forks and are seeking refuge! However it seems like I’m in the minority here.

The most recent statistics from Ireland’s Central Statistics Office (CSO) reveal that the number of marriages has been increasing steadily. In 1996 16,174 people tied the noose knot. This figure had risen to 21,841 in 2006. Of course these figures can be linked to an increase in the population over the same period but I wonder what other factors are having an effect here?

I doubt it’s coincidence that the marriage rate has increased since 1996. The year before, in 1995, there was a referendum on divorce in Ireland and divorce was finally introduced in the State in 1997. There seems to have been a shift in attitudes relating to marriage since- Older singletons are waving their hands in the air like they just don’t care, shouting from the rooftops that being single is fabulous and that marriage stifles the spirit. Meanwhile a growing number of young people- who you’d expect to be dating, shagging and having fun, damn the consequences and don’t mention the C word (commitment) – are actually looking to settle down earlier. Perhaps people see the “marry them and drop them” trend that’s taken hold in the world of celebrity and view marriage as being without consequence?

Wedding cartoon....happy ever after???

The number of divorced persons in Ireland increased from 35,100 to 59,500 between 2002 and 2006, an increase of 69.8 per cent, making it the fastest growing marital status category. The number of separated persons increased from 98,800 to 107,300 over the same period – up 8.6 per cent.

So for the youth of today marriage appears to no longer be a scary word and commitment no longer brings spotty youths out in a cold sweat… Having problems in your relationship? Sex life a bit drab? Want to spice things up? Can’t figure out how to unlock your girlfriend’s chastity belt? Mmm….get married…sure if it doesn’t work out we can just ‘pull a Barrymore’! And how will we plan our wedding? Pick up a copy of Ok! Magazine and take tips from Colleen McLoughlin and Wayne Rooney or grab People and take wise counsel from Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon…or not!

Petty Bishops and Gay on the brain!

17 06 2008

On the same day the first legal gay marriages took place in California, the Times reports on the results of a study by Swedish scientists at the Karolinska Institute which has added further credence to the fact that you do not choose to be are born gay.

Born gay?

The scientists scanned the brains of 90 healthy gay and heterosexual adults, men and women, and compare the volume of the hemispheres. Their conclusion was that structurally, the brains of gay men were similar to those of heterosexual women, and gay women’s were like heterosexual men. The study analysed the amygdala which governs emotion, mood, anxiety and aggressiveness.

Scientists believe these brain differences were laid down early in foetal development and so…drumroll…. Dr Qazi Rahman, a lecturer in cognitive biology at Queen Mary, University of London: “As far as I’m concerned there is no argument any more – if you are gay, you are born gay,” he said.

This isn’t the first scientific study into the origins of homosexuality. In 1991, Simon LeVay identified differences in the hypothalamus of straight and gay men.

So with all the gay pride going aroung at the moment (we’re in the midst of the Pride Festival in Dublin at the moment) someone had to rain on the parade. The Church have come out to poo poo the community. A petty statement released following the Irish Bishops Conference (a stimulating affair no doubt) was a load of waffle. For example:

“Christian tradition holds that sexual differentiation is intrinsic to our understanding of the sacrament of marriage.”

“Marriage has a meaning that is not reducible to individuals’ intentions and society’s laws. Marriage is not perceived as just any kind of relationship, but as a quite specific kind of relationship, with certain core characteristics.”

“It is oriented towards the sharing of their lives and the support they will give each other, and also towards the creation of new human beings as the fruit of their love.”

“It is for the sake of these two objectives that the loving marital relationship between a woman and a man needs to be one that is faithful, exclusive and lasting.”

So if you wade through all that bull it all adds up to the Church making noise for noise’s sake to create whatever bit of disruption possible. Petty. They are basically stating that the purpose of marriage is to pop out sprogs! Sad.