Last year on the ULC Monastery blog we posted a story about Lady Gaga's plan to become ordained as a minister, but it was unclear which church she intended to join. Now there is a suggestion that the pop singer might get ordained in the Universal Life Church, for the purpose of marrying her same-sex fans. Similar same-sex ceremonies officiated by the singer would follow.
The openly bisexual singer of "Born This Way", "Judas", and other major hits revealed her plans in an interview on KISS FM. She told the radio station that she is pursuing ordination so that she can marry her yoga instructor to her instructor's partner in a same-sex ceremony. Similar ceremonies officiated by the singer are expected to follow. A factor driving the pop megastar's decision is the recent passage of the Marriage Equality Bill in New York state, which legalized same-sex marriage. The new law will make it easier for her to serve as a legal wedding officiant at same-sex ceremonies, and the most likely path seems to be ordination in a nondenominational online church since online churches tend to recognize same-sex unions and teach that everybody has the right to be an ordained minister.
Of course, as always, naysayers have criticized Lady Gaga's decision as well as the whole online ordination phenomenon itself. For a person to get ordained in order to marry their friends makes a mockery of marriage, they argue, because marriage should be treated with solemnity and sacredness. Actually, though, the opposite is true.
Anybody can go to a county clerk's office and get married as long as they have $50 and the right set of chromosomes, even if they do not love each other, and anybody can get married by a minister who has received traditional minister training and education, even if the minister is a complete stranger to be people being married and has no personal connection to their relationship.
By contrast, people get ordained online to marry other people specifically because they know those people love each other, and not just because they can procreate; they also get ordained online because they have a personal connection with the people they are marrying, lending greater meaning to the ceremony. So, no, compared with ministers marrying complete strangers just because they have the money for the certificate and they can procreate, Lady Gaga getting ordained to marry her yoga instructor is hardly a mockery of marriage.
The Universal Life Church Monastery is happy to see people in positions of immense cultural influence championing sacerdotal ordination rights as well as the right of two consenting adults to confirm their love for one another in a legal sacramental wedding ceremony. Such a sign of commitment to social justice on the part of high-profile media personalities like Lady Gaga is a crucial step forward in making same-sex marriage a normal and acceptable thing. Hopefully we will see similar gestures from celebrity ministers in future.