Some time ago, it was impossible to get married anywhere other than the interior of a religious building, and any ceremony conducted outside of these boundaries was considered not to constitute a genuine wedding. As times have changed, and our perceptions along with them, we find ourselves in an age where it is now easier to get married than it was before – and where the option to marry is extended to people who previously could not.
There are people who argue that this is a bad thing per se. Increasingly they find themselves in a minority, but they still insist that marriage, if it is to mean anything, should be between a man and a woman, married in the eyes of the church and within a church building – or whatever place of worship they are affiliated to. These people further argue that the ease of getting married leads to unions that should never have taken place – and in the case of some quickie marriages which are followed by equally speedy divorces, they may have the beginnings of a point.
However, it should be pointed out that many of the most secure marriages in place today, and the most monogamous unions, are unions that could never have taken place were the couple required to be church-going, mixed-sex, and of a high enough social standing to be accepted into the church. It requires some strength of character on the part of the couple getting married to ensure that these unions come about and are successful, but the times have certainly changed compared with the situation of a century ago.