How marriage can be our best weapon in making sure love does trump hate
As I watched Hillary Clinton address her heartbroken audience and apologize for not winning the election, I held my head in my hands and caught the warm tears pouring down. I was inconsolable. This wasn’t crying of the sort that pours out of us when we lose someone. When all there is to do is reminisce about the good times of the past with the person we lost. When hours of crying leave us with a taste of longing to see them again.This was the sort of crying that tasted of fear. The fear of not knowing what’s to come and imagining the very worst.
Since the results of the election, many peaceful and some not-so-peaceful protesters have understandably taken to the streets to make their voices heard. Those same protesters are vowing to become more involved, to make more of a difference, to wake up from their dream-like insulated lives where everyone is open and accepting of people of all colors and backgrounds and promising to reach out to those that don’t think like them in hopes of enlightening them to the struggles of minorities. It’s the type of reality check that might just move an entire generation of people to finally feel the weight of responsibility for their country’s future. Each form of peaceful protest is beautiful in its own way. But maybe there’s one method of non-violent protest that none of us has seriously considered yet and which might just be the purest, most loving way, that we can vote with our hearts. Hear me out.
Some quick researching led me to discover that the earliest records of marriage date back to more than 4000 years ago. As you might imagine, back then marriage was a contract between the groom and the father of the bride. There were payments involved, and clauses set up protecting the groom. The point is that love had nothing to do with it. There were clear financial and social benefits for the groom as well as for the bride’s family. I think it’s safe to say that we’ve come a long way from the origins of marriage law — for better or for worse.
Research shows that millennials are not embracing the institution of marriage the same way that their parents and grandparents before them did. I won’t go into the number of factors affecting this change in social norms. However, if millennials are choosing either to forego monogamous relationships altogether, or to cohabitate with their lifelong partners without seeking a government contract reminding them that they must indeed promise to be there for each other in sickness and in health; then what do millennials make of marriage anymore? As Sarah Silverman comically pointed out, the government being involved in our love life could even be considered barbaric.
And so, I ask you young readers, if our progressive generation has reduced the antiquated custom of marriage to a simple governmental contract, which is of no use to us or our love life anymore, why shouldn’t we take this contract and use it to protest the hateful rhetoric of a Trump administration? The Trump administration has promised to deport millions of undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States, some of whom have been here for decades and since they were small children. President Obama wrote an executive order protecting these “Childhood Arrivals” from deportation and allowing them to live and work in the country they call home without the fear of being thrown out. President-elect Trump has promised to rescind all of those executive orders and so time is running out.
If you don’t think you know anyone of these people protected by the DACA executive order, I urge you to think again. They sound like you and they look like you, but “their papers” show they’ve overstayed their visas, or their parents brought them here 25 years ago escaping horrific living conditions in another country that they’ve never visited and they’ve been living in the shadows ever since. So you want to know what you can do to make a real difference? You can proudly use your American Citizenship to exercise your right to love and marry the person of your own choice. Before Trump can take back their protection, you can choose to marry one of these “undocumented” but fully American people and change their lives forever.
Several years ago, after decades of growing up as an undocumented immigrant with an expired visa that I originally received legally from the U.S. government as a small child, I fell in love with an amazing man. Within only weeks of our relationship, we decided to march to the courthouse and say I do. Not only to celebrate how happy we were, but also to take me out of the shadows and finally give me opportunities that had previously not only been out of reach, but completely impossible without marriage. We’re still in love now. But we always promised that even if we fell out of love, this act of protest would always be something we believed in.
What’s amazing about U.S. immigration law is that there, love does actually trump hate. The status of married to an American citizen grants you the kind of immunity and path to citizenship that millions of DACA people dream of. To all the terrified young undocumented people, I plead with you to come out to your trusted American friends — the ones you are marching with. To share your stories with them. Use love as the most powerful change-enabling tool. There are more than 80 million millennial generation Americans in the U.S. right now. And there are less than 2 million DACA-eligible undocumented Americans living beside them. We can do this. We can use our rights to change the course of history and to redefine the power of a marriage contract to include not only love, but also protest.
That’s a revolution.