Saturday, 27 June 2015

#LoveWins - The Wrong Hashtag

26 June 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States of America ruled that same sex marriage was a constitutional right, forcing the hand of the fourteen states that had banned such a practice. It caused emotive scenes across USA and worldwide support on social media. That support came in various forms, including the hashtag #LoveWins. It seems a simple enough phrase and conveys the idea of how people feel about the decision. For me, it's the wrong hashtag.

This was not a debate or fight about love. It was about equality before the law. That doesn't demean the value of the cause in any way. The 13th Amendment of the US Constitution, which banned slavery, was built on that principle and it is one of the most important amendments. The semantics are not the reason I have a problem with this hashtag.

It is how it undermines love. How it puts it as a subject of the law, institutions and even brand names. How it doesn't appreciate how special love is. You see, same sex love was not any less genuine before this legal decision than it is after it. It was heartfelt for the lovers and heartbreaking for those who called time on it. To suggest that it was a tidal wave that eventually won the fight appears to imply that it wasn't convincing enough prior to this time.  That attacks its authenticity, inappropriately so.

The problem is that a lot of people have fallen into this trap about love. The trap being "You don't choose who you love." That is a misunderstanding, at best, and a lie, at worst. You don't choose who you're attracted to. That is a fact. Love is more than that. It takes that feeling, whether it be friendship or attraction and builds upon it with choice, sacrifice and loyalty, day after day. Love is more than a feeling. It is thoughts and actions focused on an individual who becomes more important to you than yourself. If any gay couple, or indeed any couple, needs to be married to have that in their relationship, it will ultimately fail.

Marriage is the step you take when you already acknowledge that you're at that stage that you want to give your thoughts, actions, sacrifice and your entire self to each other. In terms of legal benefits, such as transfer of property, rights to make medical decisions and so on, it does seem ludicrous that there were limitations on those rights, purely because the couple in question share the same gender. Ultimately, that is prejudicial.

Yet, in among all this, there seems to be this notion that same sex love was a lesser thing until now, purely because they could not get married. I understand why people use a hashtag that swings against it but it only validates the previous prejudice. Yes, all men and women should be equal before the law. One day, they will be. But love is not equal because each kind is as unique as a snowflake. Each one is real and should never be compared to another kind of love. One thing is for sure, love is precious. It should not be cheapened for a legal concept. It's far more magical and divine than something that any man can write or decide upon in a courtroom. It's not love that won. It was equality.

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