Why A Law Will Not Stop Me From Loving You, By Jessica Niziolek


n 2015 I began to see writings online about a law that affects the disability community and their benefits if they ever decided to marry. Later, while doing my own research I found out that this “law” was called, The Marriage Penalty Law. Like most little girls I have always dreamed of my wedding day. So when I found out that this law actually exists I was absolutely shocked, heartbroken, and yes extremely pissed. Is it not enough that we as a community are told how much we can make, where we can live, what we do and do not qualify for. Let alone that we get told countless times how we aren’t “disabled enough" to deserve an equal shot at living the most fulfilled and productive life we can?

But now there is an actual law that punishes me for finding love and wanting to spend the rest of my life with him. How did this law even become acceptable to people that most likely have no clue what it to truly be disabled, and have to depend on people/resources to help sustain their lives? Why on earth are you asking us to make choice between our livelihoods, and love? When you yourselves know that you would never be able to make that choice for yourselves. Not to mention, if a couple did decide to legally marry inspire this law, that there were consequences like no cash as gifts only gift cards.

Really!? Since when did love and rules stare the same sentiment? I understand that there are those that do take advantage of the system, and that is ethical, morally, and legally wrong. But what about the ones who don’t? What about the ones who just want to be married because they love one another? And yes, I know that the argument has been made that a marriage license is just a piece a paper, but there are some who believe that the constitution is just a piece of paper too. (I am not one of them.)

Why is there a punishment for loving someone who happens to be disabled? Why does society and the government for that matter, find it acceptable to essentially put a price tag on loving someone with a disability or disabilities? How is that not considered a punishable act? Love is not a punishment; love is a beautiful blessing in my opinion. When did finding/falling in love with the disability community become the government’s concern?

More importantly, why aren’t you concerned that the most underrepresented community with the largest growth in decades has little to nothing to survive on? That everyday programs are being cut, and waiting lists for things like PCA’s and housing are getting longer and longer? But by all means, make it a priority to tell those in the community on SSI why we cannot marry for love. That to me is not only an abuse of power, but it is inhumane, prejudice, and unconstitutional. Not only that but, how can you pass something like The Marriage Penalty Law and consider it all law at all?

When it clearly is a punishment for those that are on SSI. I mean, the word penalty is in the title. If I can have all the bells and whistles that make it not only feel like my wedding but look my wedding. Exchanging rings, and even legally change my last name then why can’t I have a simple piece of paper that binds that? Who does it truly hurt besides those that want to line their fancy pockets with more money, and congratulate themselves for a job well done in the eyes of their fellow peers? I’ll tell you who it really hurts.

Us that’s who. We are the ones who truly are paying the price for their life-altering decisions that have no rewind, edit, or delete button once they are put into action. I have a personal stake in this law for the simple fact that I myself have found someone who truly loves me. And he too happens to have Cerebral Palsy like myself. But unlike myself, if he were to marry someone else besides me that it would not be considered a “punishment.” Because of his SSDI status.

There have even been times where I have said to him, that if he wanted to break things off because he would and is giving up that dream of legally marrying if he stayed with me, that I’d understand. He of course, flat out said, “no way in hell.” Followed by, “the government can not dictate who I can and can not love.” But, the sad and very real reality is that because this law exists that is exactly what’s happening. to the who did not choose to be on SSI. And yet, we are asking to choose love over our livelihood which is unfair and highly unjust.

No law should be prohibited to tell someone who they can not love from a legal standpoint. And certainly, no law should stop you from want to show your love to someone in such a public display; a celebration of love like that of a wedding ceremony. That’s why I vow right here and now, that no law will EVER stop me from loving my boyfriend. For the simple fact that I unlike those in a position of power and authority believe that love is a priceless, and rare gift with no piece tag attached to it. Love is not a bargaining chip, nor should it be as another liability amongst those in the disability community that are on SSI. As cliche as it may sound the truth is, love is love.

Written By Jessica Niziolek

Bio: I am Writer, Poet, and advocate

Facebook: @msjnizauthorpoetadvocate - Website: seetheabled.blogspot.com