Volume > Issue > “Love” Conquers All

“Love” Conquers All

NEW OXFORD NOTEBOOK

By Pieter Vree | April 2020
Pieter Vree is Editor of the NOR.

The centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world

W.B. Yeats

 

When the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its Obergefell ruling in 2015, legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide, cries of “Love wins!” echoed across the fruited plains. That particular victory chant put marriage traditionalists in a peculiar spot. You see, in our polarized society, whoever is against “love” is automatically for hate and is, ergo, a hater, a bigot.

Love, as understood today, is ebullient and expansive. Who can define it? Or, more importantly, who can contain it? Popular poet Maya Angelou put the contemporary feeling into prose, writing, “Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” Forget suffering and sacrifice; love, in our times, is at once an irrepressible force and an irrecusable proposition.

So, who or what can stop the Love Train, now that the Supreme Court has sent it barreling down the track? If same-sex marriage is its new point of departure, what is its terminus?

Three years ago, I penned a New Oxford Note titled “From the Fringes: A Marital Blitz” (April 2017). In light of the Obergefell ruling, I wrote, “If we can expand the meaning of marriage to include not only one man and one woman, but two men or two women, why can’t we expand it even further to include, say, one man and two women, or two men and one woman, or two men and two women, or more? The combinations are limited only by our ability to count!”

I was talking, of course, about polygamy, or “plural marriage,” the practice of having more than one spouse at a time. It was, I wrote, “another social taboo just waiting to be toppled.”

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