In my opinion: Gay marriage? Not so gay.

Love. It means so many things to so many people. To teenagers, puppy love takes hold of their midsummer night dreams, thoughts, and their social lives. But as they grow older, crushes give way to relationships, sometimes reaching the Holy Grail of adolescent liaisons, “going steady.”

But, for some, a shocking twist awaits them in their fairy tale. Prince Charming turns out to be a princess. The knight in shining armor doesn’t fall for the type of queen he was expecting, or perhaps he finds out that the fairy princess is just a fairy.

No one can control where Cupid aims his arrows. Across the globe, countless people fall in love regardless of their race, citizenship or gender.

It seems, though, that while Cupid pays no attention to borders and nationalities, the federal government does.

Marriage, in America, means more than just matrimony. It means more than 1,400 rights granted to couples who fall in love. Only one requirement exists for marriage. It is not children, resources, race, class, health or religion.

It is sex. Both spouses must be different sexes.

Thus, 1,400 laws keep lovers from uniting under the law. It keeps one from visiting another in the hospital and making the all-too-common heartbreaking decisions.

It complicates an already too complicated bureaucracy when one lover tries to negotiate the legal labyrinth of the last will and testament.

But this inequality separates people during their life as well.

Among the 1,400 rights not granted to gays and lesbians in marriage is the right to bring their lover to America.

This right does not come from the states, so even if Kentucky granted loving couples the ability to affirm their affection through the law, it still wouldn’t matter to international couples because the federal government, not the state government, deals with immigration.

This may seem trivial to most Americans. Yet, sadly, it is quite the opposite.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, after studying the last census, noticed that among the 600,000 gay committed couples, more than 100,000 were Hispanic. Half of those couples were not U.S. citizens.

The emotional and financial distress of those forsaken by the law is quite apparent. Couples must constantly travel to be with one another and often struggle to work in the many hours of traveling.

Straight couples, however, can come to America, which allows them to build a life and family with the other 1,400 rights granted to them.

Americans espouse equality as a virtue, yet seem to be reluctant to advocate for it. Some promote “Civil Unions” as a compromise, because separate-but-equal worked so well for the South in the ’60s.

Nevertheless, civil unions can’t substitute for marriage. Civil unions (such as in Vermont) would be at the state level. The federal government would continue ignoring this problem and withholding more than 1,000 rights from couples.

But for gay couples, it gets worse. Many employers, including Northern Kentucky University, do not offer same-sex benefits. One must marry an employee of the company to get full medical benefits as well as other perks (such as discounts for education).

How many Americans have to watch as the person who they love leaves them, not because of what they did, but because of who they are? How many tearful goodbyes must be said before Americans will realize that separate is never equal?

Until America does equalize marriage on every level, Americans will not be free. They will not have the life they want, nor the liberty to marry the person they love. They will not be free to pursue happiness.

Until America equalizes marriage, there will be no happy ending for millions of Americans.