The past week I’ve been watching the Minneapolis Star Tribune for up-close coverage of the recent legislative committees vote in favor of same-gender marriage. This afternoon I read this letter, and frankly, it sums up my point of view perfectly.
A matter of semantics, or so much more?
Many, including me, support a legal union between same-sex partners that offers all the legal, economic and social advantages (and disadvantages) of marriage. But that union cannot be called “marriage.” That word is already taken — it has a well-established definition.
Why, you may ask, am I hung up on semantics? Well, because the primary functions of language are to define, differentiate, and share ideas. To add same-sex unions to the traditional definition of marriage is like legislation stating that from this point forward rivers will be included in the definition of lakes; after all, they’re both bodies of water. In doing so, language is compromised.
To use a term other than marriage for same-sex unions does not imply a lesser relationship; it can be an institution of pride. Same-sex unions — you have my full support. Marriage is a union between a man and a woman.
Okay, I’m back. For a long time I’ve said same gender marriage is not about burly men in frilly gowns at the local Lutheran Church. It’s about equal protection of existing laws applying to all couples in long term, committed relationships.
But, that point of view doesn’t gain any traction with the folks who lobby that they’re concerned about redefining marriage.
Even if we called it “Alfred” rather than “marriage” they would scramble to find some other reason to justify denying equal rights to gay people.
Today’s Gay Agenda: Keeping my fingers crossed as the MN legislature advances The Gay Agenda. I do agree they need to figure out the budget first and minimize risk of closing down the state parks yet again as they muddle through the gay marriage issue.