Valentine’s Day: More than Flowers

Written by Joe Girton, Winter/Spring intern, Freedom to Marry.

It’s Valentine’s Day. This means different things to different people: an Ashton Kutcher romantic comedy, memories good and bad, someone we care about. Or maybe just some cynicism. But to every American, Valentine’s Day symbolizes a celebration of the timeless value of love and commitment.

As such, there’s no better time for Freedom to Marry to launch our new national public education campaign – Why Marriage Matters. It’s full of reasons why ending marriage discrimination transcends politics or religion, and we hope that the page’s stories of couples across America will touch you as much as they have moved us.

They come from all walks of life – different cultures, backgrounds, and value systems. But they’re united by their nearly tear-inspiring commitment to their husbands, wives, or for those not lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time – their partners.

It’s all more heartwarming than anything.

In a testament to the times, many of the couples we’ve featured met online: Sako and Diana found each other on Facebook, Thom and Jeff are together because of the blogosphere, and Darin and Carl credit with making their union reality. Maybe they’ll be able to show us how to do romance right in the 21st century.

Others have gone about it more traditionally: Carmen and Anisia, neighbors since grade school, always knew how special they were to each other, and Chris and Juan have five children.

They are pastors, musicians, passionate skiers, activists, artists. Lovers. Best friends. Their stories, from the nervous first date to the complications of modern living, are something we’re all too familiar with. They are America, and they are you.

This Valentine’s Day, there’ll be plenty of warmth, kisses, and all that good stuff. But there’ll be far too many families who still have to struggle to describe themselves within our societal lexicon. Next year, let there be less of those.

We let celebrities (anyone in a opposite-sex coupling, really) tie the knot after a sloppy night of bad decisions in Vegas. The divorce rate in this country is upwards of 50%. It’s hard to fathom that allowing committed couples like those featured on Why Marriage Matters to legally marry is any kind of threat to marriage today. In fact, maybe Chris and Tim, Sako and Diana, Darin and Carl, and all the others can help remind the disillusioned among us what marriage is, and always has been, all about.