There are different ways of categorizing love. I have talked before about the evolutionary eras of love and stated that human love is sacred by that measure. That it is a higher love than that shared by other animals. Thus the love shared between animals is not equal to the love shared between humans.
But is there equality amongst human love? There are certainly different types of human love. For example:
- Divine love: The love between a god and Their creations
- Maternal/Paternal love. The love between parents and children
- Romantic love. The love between partners
- Familial love. The love between members of the same family
Is the equality of love to be found between these different types of love? Can you even compare, say, maternal love with familial love?
Yes I believe you can.
You know your own heart and you can compare the love you have for a child with the love you have for an uncle. You can typically say you love your child more deeply than you love the uncle. But perhaps not. We must never assume that one type of love is inherently deeper than another type of love. Yes it is common for a parent to love their child more than they love their uncle but if there is an exception to that, are we to judge the parent? It may be rare and therefore sound odd. We may ask why. But there are any number of reasons for how such a situation would come to be.
We may not like to talk about this because it is very personal. But if we search our heart honestly I believe we can come up with a ranking based on the relative depth of the love we have for the people in our lives, and our god(s). It will be very rough especially when we get down to more distant relationships. Often times we will rank two or more individuals as the same. In such a case we say we love those two individuals equally.
The equality in the example above is definitive because there is a common person capable of evaluating their one and only heart when ranking their relationships with others. Of assessing the depth of their love for various relationships. I believe it is not uncommon for a person to love two people equally. Two of their children for example. The person experiencing the love is the sole judge on who they love more or less of. There is no test that can measure the love in a person’s heart for others from the outside. The best we can do as an outsider, or society, is assess the love based on the outward expressions, or Actions, that manifest and whatever Thoughts and Feelings (herein referred to as ATFs) the person is willing to honestly share. But it is a poor substitute as there are any number of reasons why a deep love may not manifest in a number of meaningful actions while words may belie the strength of our thoughts and feelings. There is much variability between the given depth of our love and the ATFs that manifest.
Which brings us to marriage equality and LGBTQ+ rights. Can a society say if a couple loves each other more or less than another couple? Even if ATFs could reveal the love in our hearts, we would still need to assess every ATF associated with that couple’s love or lack thereof. Each one needs to be remembered correctly, shared perfectly, and assessed properly. It is a calculation reminiscent of the one made by The Greatest Love on judgement day. Short of conditions that would indicate an abhorrent relationship it is impossible to completely assess the love a couple have for each other from the outside. Who are we to judge a couple’s love? Only they alone, along with The Greatest Love, know the love in their own hearts and thus their union is between themselves and The Greatest Love. When a heterosexual couple and an LGBTQ+ couple both say they love each other who are we to say if one love is different or greater than the other? Can we peer inside their hearts to assess the love they have for one another?
No we cannot.
And so the love that is shared between both couples must be recognized by society as equal. The only question that remains for LGBTQ+ marriage is whether love is the most important criteria for marriage. As I stated earlier, love trumps life itself. Creating new life, procreation, is not the essence of marriage. Procreation is merely one of the many expressions of the true essence of marriage. And the true essence of marriage is love.
LGBTQ+ marriage should be recognized as the same as heterosexual marriage in any loving society and we must conclude that LGBTQ+ couples can love each other just as deeply as heterosexual couples.
But can the recognition of LGBTQ+ marriage lead to unions between any persons in general? Does it give credence to the slippery slope argument that the institution of marriage is somehow being diluted with the acceptance of LGBTQ+ marriage? That the eventual outcome will be the recognition of polygamy or child marriages, for example? What makes one marriage legitimate and not another?
The definition of marriage has evolved over time to reflect society’s ever changing values. So do I fear a day when the institution of marriage embraces the aberrations of love, that are polygamy and child marriages, based on the ever evolving opinions of the masses? No I do not. Because I believe the acceptance of LGBTQ+ marriage points to a very different trendline. It points to a path that embraces an equality of love. I believe that over time the World will allow all equal partnerships to marry. Partners whose understanding of marriage is mature enough, and loving enough that they are both able to freely make an equal and lifelong commitment to each other that does no demonstrable harm to society.
Polygamy and child marriages do not meet that standard. LGBTQ+ marriages do.
Polygamy occurs when one man’s love is shared amongst multiple women while at the same time requiring the full love and attention of each of those women in return. Their commitment to each other is unequal and along with it their love. It is misogynistic. It is predatory. And it is an aberration of love.
A child marriage is a manipulative relationship where the adult’s emotional experience is wielded as a weapon against the child. It is not the coming together of two equals in love. How can it be? A sufficient understanding of love requires an emotional maturity that a child cannot possibly possess. It is not just an aberration of love, it is preying on the innocent and must rightfully be condemned by all loving societies.
The above two aberrant relationships do not reflect an equality of love. I believe that over time their acceptance will decline and slowly fade away as fundamental rights for women and children become more widely recognized. However LGBTQ+ relationships do represent an equality of love, and thus should be afforded the same rights and privileges as heterosexual couples. And I believe in my heart that my god, The Greatest Love, based on everything I believe Them to be, blesses such unions as equal to any other loving couples.
Finally I’ll end this post with the words of President Barack Obama speaking on the United States Supreme Court’s decision for marriage equality. His statement that “love is love” made me ponder the possibilities, and inspired this post. I believe there are different types, evolutions, depths, breadths, aberrations, and possibly many more dimensions to human love not yet explored. But when one type of love can be as deep as another of the same type and does no harm to society, then I believe they should be treated equally under the law. There is no heterosexual love or homosexual love. There is only the love that is shared between loving couples. Given that context love is truly love.