#Love Wins . . . Marriage Equality Is for Real

Today, many of us are celebrating a simple thing called “love”

Posted Jun 26, 2015

Love Makes the World Go Round . . . It's True

This newly gained, constitutional right to pursue long-term love and long-term legally sanctioned commitment will probably lead a wave of economic windfalls across the nation. This is a Big Event kind of day.

The gay and lesbian wedding industry is set to explode, according to the Williams Institute, a think-tank in the law school at UCLA. They predicted that approximately $2.6 billion will be invested into the wedding industry over the next three years and that was before the Supreme Court gave the issue the “5-thumbs’ up.” That’s a significant chunk of change!

Unfortunately, while the acceptance of same sex marriage grows stronger and more expansively across the population, some lesbians and gay men will still face resistance among family members and “outliers” among the group. We’ve learned sad lessons about the startling disconnect between “law” and “opinion” in many often violent and heartbreaking ways. Many love-struck and commitment-eager same-sex couples will still need to ask themselves if they are up for the opposition that they may face if they choose to legally marry.

Love Is Like a High Inducing Psychotropic Drug

It is not surprising that couples who have been barred from marriage found a million other “anniversaries” to celebrate. Love is like a drug that alters the way we look at our beloved as well as how we look at the world. The desire to bond with another and take on the world is universal and it is one of those genetically programmed processes that is undeniable and much celebrated in our culture.

From country songs (“What was I thinkin’?) to classic rock (“You and me baby, we were born to run”) to easy listening (“You and me against the world, sometimes it feels like you and me against the world”) to Juliet’s plea to Romeo to “deny thy father and refuse thy name,” the drive towards romantic fulfilment is unstoppable. And no matter who we love, we are going to find reasons to rejoice in our state of delirious commitment to another. In fact, the most frequently celebrated anniversaries reported in one study were as follows, in descending order of popularity:

  1. Decision to move in together
  2. First date
  3. Day they said “I love you” to one another
  4. Verbal acknowledgement of their monogamous commitment
  5. First meeting (especially if the relationship began online)
  6. First sexual encounter
  7. The day they decided to merge their finances

People in love get creative in finding reasons to celebrate their success in building a relationship. Some couples shared that they celebrated everything—first kiss, first time they said “I love you” out loud, first intimate encounter, day that they found their lover had placed a new toothbrush in the holder, commitment ceremony date, wedding date, you name it! And, as research shows, the LGBT population is still a ripe group for targeted marketing of just about anything from alcoholic beverages to Subaru SUVs. June, 2015, however, has opened up the often taken-for-granted right of passage from singleton to spouse for every gay man or lesbian woman throughout the nation. This news will change the lives of many, many individuals—mostly for the good, but some for the “less good.” Just because the laws change does not mean that personal opinions change. It is illegal to harm others, but this does not keep tragic loss and harm from occurring.

“I’m a Crate-and-Barrel Kind of Girl, but She’s a Wal-Mart Woman”

Research shows that the wedding registry business is embracing the new group with fervor—and the wedding registry, itself, has become a virtual representation of a couple’s merged identity—in fact, researchers have found that the brands we choose and the stores in which we register are part of our “identity development” as a couple and for our anticipated roles in the marriage. Many hungry retailers are responding to the growing legalization and overtness of the same-sex marriage revolution.  It was over 3 years ago, in fact, when Target televised an ad for same-sex wedding registry participation. The same rose-colored glasses that giddy straight engaged couples wear have become readily available for, and as eagerly donned by, their gay and lesbian counterparts.

Whether a couple splashes out big on a destination wedding—stateside or international—or chooses the county courthouse, and whether they choose to register at Target, Wal-Mart, or Tiffany’s, the desire to build a shared identity seems to cross genders and sexual orientations. But as many lesbians and gay males shared in interviews conducted for a research study, whether or not you are straight or gay, you may still hate or be hated by your in-laws and you are still marrying your beloved’s family.

Lessons of Love for Everyone

In summary, perhaps it is wise to remember that no matter who we are, who we love, or where we live, there may be a slew of obstacles faced as we pursue our perfectly normal desire for a “happily ever after.” In the study mentioned earlier, over 99% of the respondents revealed that they celebrate some kind of anniversary—and many choose to celebrate multiple events that chronicle their development as a couple. The desire for long-term stability is fierce, and when the respondents were asked to share tips for newly committed/married same-sex couples, the most frequently suggested tips are as relevant for straight couples as they are for other gay and lesbian couples:

  1. Treat each other with respect.
  2. Recognize that your beloved chose to share his or her life with you.
  3. Find a community of support. This may include family members, friends, or others who will value your individual identities and your merged identity as a couple
  4. Spend your time wisely. This involves spending time alone together as a couple, alone individually, with others as a couple, and with others on your own. Nourishing your shared identity will be more fruitful when your individual identities are acknowledged and nourished, as well.

In summary, bring on the double groom or double bride cake toppers, bring on the “his and his” and “hers and hers” towels, matching aprons, Home Depot and Victoria’s Secret compatible registry identities! Pull out all the stops on Hawaiian or Caribbean or Myrtle Beach “Rainbow Weddings.” Invest now—financially and emotionally—into all of the trappings that you feel necessary to honor you and your Mr. or Mrs. Soulmate. And if all you want is an early afternoon visit to the courthouse, that’s okay, too. So long as a couple agree on the message they want to communicate by their union, the only obstacle that they face should be disagreements on colors, menu, venue, or guest lists.