The February issue of Essence magazine features Miami Heat basketball star Dwyane Wade and Actress Gabrielle Union. The internets immediately erupted in outrage that the unmarried couple was featured on the love issue of the magazine. This made me wonder: Does love need a marriage license to be real?
The charges against the couple being featured on a major publication range from the “they’re not married” to “she is a homewrecker/he is an adulterer”. The second stance, (homewrecker/adultery), can be easily dismissed. Yes, he was married and probably cheated on his wife. I would reason that Gabrielle wasn’t the first woman Dwyane was with. She is only the most famous. We (the public) don’t know the timetable of Dwyane’s separation and divorce. I believe some things should be private even for celebrities. Bottom line, we don’t know these people. The only thing we know for certain is that he plays basketball for a living. We know she has been in some movies. In essence (see what I did there?), we don’t know anything.
Okay, one thing we do know is that they aren’t married to each other. So what? According to the article, they have been together for three years now. They profess their love and respect for each other. By their own account, they are living together and co-parenting Dwyane’s two sons. Sounds like love to me. Why does society place so much importance on a marriage license?
I am a married woman and I wouldn’t love my husband any less if we weren’t married. I bet a lot of married people would agree. So what does that license really symbolize? Could it be saying that two people have chosen to live together, co-mingle funds, and provide insurance for each other? If a marriage license solidifies a business relationship, why do people claim it symbolizes the legitimacy of love?
I believe Gabrielle and Dwyane are deserving of being featured on the cover of a magazine. If they say it’s love, why should a license be required?