There are few issues that I feel passionate enough about to write a submission to my school newspaper; however, the day came when I read Olivia Offner’s political column last week entitled “Love is Not Enough.” Is it really not enough? How sad it is that we live in a world in which the law rules, simply remaining upheld because of a historical precedent or “institution.” Olivia argues that altering the law will inevitably “restructure society as a whole.” Are we so afraid of change that we will deny someone the right to be with whom he or she chooses in order to maintain an unjust institution?
I understand Olivia’s point, as well as those who oppose same-sex marriage, although I certainly do not agree with it. Those in opposition to same-sex marriage suggest that every human being has the right to marry someone of the opposite sex. Just because someone chooses not to do so does not make the law unjust. In addition, if we only take love into account, then can a pedophile marry a child because they say they love each other? I see where these opinions are coming from, and it is not up to me to say whether or not someone’s personal beliefs are right or wrong if I do not want to be judged by others. Nevertheless, I have a profound problem with someone who willingly denies another human being the right to be happy, simply because it will be an inconvenience to society to restructure old laws.
Olivia argues that if we allow marriage between every person, then it will eventually lose all of its value. I believe, however, that allowing marriage between two adults, no matter their sex, will improve the sanctity and value of marriage. A gay man who hides his homosexuality and marries a woman in order to have children and live a “normal” life is in fact devaluing the institution of marriage. Just because two heterosexuals get married, that does not mean that their marriage has any inherent value because it consists of a man and a woman. Was Britney Spears’ 55-hour marriage to her high school boyfriend sacred because it involved a heterosexual couple? I don’t think so. I understand that this poses many problems concerning personal opinion and judgment about what is just and real love versus what is potentially unfounded. However, I believe it is time to abandon the “sanctity” of heterosexuality and embrace the essential value of love itself, apart from the establishment of sex or gender.
“Love is Not Enough” goes on to suggest that most people are in favor of same-sex marriage because it does not affect them, and they are thus “apathetic” to the idea in general. This is not only grossly incorrect, but it is also offensive. Those who oppose human rights are the apathetic ones, blatantly not considering the lives of others because they do not understand it, or because it defies the institution of marriage as it began centuries ago when it involved dowries and betrothals, rather than love.
Even though the institution of marriage historically did not begin with love at its core, love should still be the basis for marriage today. What does it matter that marriage was instituted to perpetuate the human race or to “control human nature,” to quote Olivia? Firstly, the people who instated marriage to control human desires obviously did not understand the human body and its biological sexual drive. In addition, why does heterosexual marriage need to be the only progenitor of the human race? If I remember correctly, a lesbian couple can certainly broaden the human race with the help of a sperm donor, and a male couple can have children through a surrogate mother.
Marriage is not crucial to the American way of life or the notion of family. I’m pretty sure America will do just fine if we change some things around. America seemed to improve, in fact, once slavery was abolished. Slavery was an American institution, but it was unjust and heinous. In the same way, denying another human being the right to be happy along with his heterosexual neighbors returns America to the same heartless roots. If slavery was successfully abolished, I think we can handle this crucial step towards equality as well.