It has been said that love is a many-splendored thing. One can take that to mean that love could mutate into several different forms: friendship, jealousy, divorce, or lawsuits. And we know it all too well.
Speaking of love, Valentine’s Day marks the beginning of a meaningful relationship for many couples. Some couples, however, don’t make it past their first V-day celebration. Cupid and his bow and arrow may symbolize February 14 festivities, but the Feast of Saint Valentine hasn’t always been about chocolates, candies, and kisses. It has dark origins marked by animal sacrifices and brutal rituals. And that darker aspect of the love holiday may have carried over to the present day.
Valentine’s Day strikes fear in the heart of men
On Valentine’s Day 2012, Kierra Reed from Ohio assaulted her boyfriend (now presumably her ex) because he failed to give her a Valentine’s Day gift. Ms. Reed scratched and punched her boyfriend then chased him with a knife, whereupon he ran off and barricaded himself in the bathroom.
A similar case happened to a couple in Boise, Idaho involving a man named Gerald Amidon, who just got out of prison, and his girlfriend who seemed to prefer him locked up. On V-day 2009, Mr. Amidon planned a romantic reunion with her. Her plans, however, involved roughing him up. She asked a friend to do the dirty work, but the friend instead called on the police, who showed up on Mr. Amidon’s doors and tasered him. Mr. Amidon sued the city police for emotional distress and sought $500,000 in punitive damages.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: domestic violence is NEVER funny. That is unless food was used as a weapon and no one was seriously harmed.
Valentine’s Day busyness ruins a woman’s Valentine’s Day plan
February 14 is one of the busiest days for restaurants. Couples planning a lovely Valentine lunch or dinner in a romantic restaurant either have the best time of their lives or the worst.
In 2015, Kathleen Hampton from Northeast Portland had the saddest Valentine’s Day of her life when she allegedly experienced awful service at the Italian bistro Enzo’s Caffe Italiano. Mrs. Hampton was supposed to have dinner with her husband who, unfortunately, would not go because he was still full from lunch. She ended up going alone so as not to waste the reservation. It turned out to be a solo Valentine’s Day dinner she would never forget.
According to her lawsuit against Enzo’s, she experienced terrible service — she did not get a table despite arriving ahead of other customers and was refused to order food-to-go. For the bad service that broke her heart, she wanted $100,000.
Mrs. Hampton suspected that this was racially motivated since she was black. Our hunch is that food at the Italian restaurant must have been to die for. There are some lessons to be learned here: the husband could have saved her the trouble by going with her and also, book a table weeks or months in advance.
Valentine’s Day catalyzes a social justice movement
While Valentine’s Day may drive certain couples to do things they’d later regret (e.g., commit a crime of passion), some leverage the season of love to advance a cause dear to their hearts.
Case in point: 13 Japanese LGBTQ couples filed coordinated lawsuits to legalize same-sex marriage on Valentine’s Day 2019. It may come as a shock that same-sex couples aren't allowed to marry in Japan, although Japanese citizens are allowed to marry same-sex partners in foreign countries. However, such partnerships won’t be legally recognized in Japan, effectively denying same-sex couples benefits such as hospital visitation rights and the like.
The fact is that nothing strikes fear in the hearts of many men more than hearing “gay marriage”, and this is sadly still the case in many Asian countries. The thirteen couples sought to change that. The ambiguously worded statement in Article 24 of the Japanese Constitution might have motivated them. It states that “marriage shall be based only on the mutual consent of both sexes and it shall be maintained through mutual cooperation with the equal rights of husband and wife as a basis”.
Former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe who said that “the Constitution does not envisage marriage between people of the same sex.” But with him out and various social movements recently gaining ground, the same-sex couples who filed the V-day lawsuit might one day find themselves able to say “I do” in their own land.
Buckingham, LaGrandeur, & Williams are family law attorneys in Washington State. As family law and personal injury attorneys, we ease the heartache in any divorce, child custody, or slip-and-fall injury cases. Call our Renton, Seattle offices or leave us a message.