Get out of our bedrooms, get into our hearts

As may be evident, this edition of the Reporter hits the streets on Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day. Perhaps that shouldn’t be a significant fact to note. Whether one believes the holiday has succumbed to artificial constructions by Hallmark, DeBeers, florists and candy shops, it shouldn’t be difficult to realize that we would all be better off if we didn’t focus our expressions of love on one day, but rather expressed them as enthusiastically on the other 364 days of the year (plus that extra day we get this and other leap years).

We’re not suggesting we all spend our upcoming tax rebates on blood diamonds and gift boxes from Trufflehounds. Instead, we’re suggesting people use this holiday as an opportunity to make some resolutions a la New Years. This time we have one specific recommendation: resolve to love throughout the year and to let others love as they may.

For example, you may be reading this editorial long after Valentine’s Day, but if you’re not, we urge you to make it to the Ventura County Government Center around noon, when members of the Community Organized for Liberty, Opportunity and Respect, the Stonewall Democrats of Ventura County and the Ventura County Rainbow Alliance will, for the third year in a row, lead a demonstration against California’s ban on same sex marriages. At that event those groups and their supporters will again lobby for same sex couples’ right to civil marriage and the attendant rights that married couples enjoy.

Who are we to continue to insist that loving couples not have the right to visit each other in the hospital, to jointly shoulder their tax burden, to inherit each other’s property and to have these and other rights recognized across the nation? It’s depressing that in 2008 we continue to send troops to kill and die spreading freedom (ostensibly), yet we still can’t open our hearts to the idea that our neighbors, our friends and our family should have the freedom to love who they want how they want.

Honestly, it’s baffling. It’s utterly baffling. What threat do loving couples pose? As disgusting as the misguided paranoia about homosexual promiscuity is, wouldn’t society be more welcoming of the idea of committed, loving relationships than people screwing around? Shouldn’t we, in this age of foreclosures and economic uncertainty, welcome the intertwining of hearts and lives and finances so more people are able to purchase homes and invest in their community?

But this shouldn’t have to be a debate won on economic arguments. It shouldn’t be hard for people who claim to celebrate the love of their neighbor, the freedom of their people or the happiness of their families to let that love, that freedom and that happiness flourish. It should be elementary that love, freedom and happiness thrive when each is abundant and unrestricted.

Regardless, returning to the issue of promiscuity, whose business is it if people — male or female, heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual or transsexual — are promiscuous? The decisions consenting adults make in the bedroom are their own. As long as everyone involved is honest and consenting who are we to judge whether people are having sex to further the intimacy they share or just want to enjoy a roll in the hay to blow off steam or have fun?

As this week’s feature story shows, sex is quickly becoming something that people can enjoy as proudly and healthily as any other activity. Indeed, the businesses featured in the story by Jenny Lower thrive on the fact that sexuality is not only appealing to perverts in dirty video arcades, but to just about everyone in society. Why then do we spend so much time marginalizing sexuality of any sort and especially those expressions of it with which we are not familiar or we do not understand? Where did we get the idea that it would be at all constructive or healthy for society to limit the choices other people make in the bedroom or with their hearts?

This Valentine’s Day and beyond, resolve to love those around you and resolve to let those around you love as they wish. We guarantee you the world would be a better place if more love was welcomed, if, instead of turning away from love and fortifying ourselves against others’ love we welcomed it and let it flourish around us.