The Definition of Marriage

Jim Burroway

September 26th, 2012

Marriage is on the ballot in four states this year. Voters in Maine, Maryland, and Washington will decide whether same-sex couples will be allowed to marry, while Minnesota voters will determine whether to write discrimination into their state’s constitution. The National Organization for Marriage (NOM), the Witherspoon Institute, and many, many other organzations are mobilizing their resources to push their anti-gay arguments.  Professor John Corvino is intimately familiar with those arguments, having just published a book with NOM’s co-founder Maggie Gallagher titled Debating Same-Sex Marriage, the only book ever endorsed both by Rick Santorum and Dan Savage. Corvino has also posted a valuable series of videos taking apart those arguements, one by one. You can see the entire series here.


September 26th, 2012

Brilliant! Now if we could just figure out how to say all that in 15 seconds or on a billboard we might win an election…


September 26th, 2012

Ok, I’m really starting to get bugged by this.

Phrases such as the following do not help our cause:

“…will decide whether same-sex couples will be allowed to marry…”

First of all it dilutes the facts at best and boarders on hyperbole at worst.

Regardless of what happens in any of these states, same-sex couples will not be jailed or otherwise prevented from having private ceremonies. Should the worst happen, any given state just won’t recognize it. (which I agree is STILL wrong)

Don’t misunderstand me. I am 100% in the marriage equality camp. Why a tax paying same-sex couple should have to pay hundreds if not thousands for something that marginally resembles what a mixed-sex couple gets for 50 bucks is reprehensible. But overstating the facts makes us sound like ill-informed harpies.

More importantly, it’s a false statement that is not only easily refuted by our opponents, but is also distracts from the real harm caused by the anti-equality stance. That harm namely being the lack of protections for couples and their children.

This is where the battle must be met and with unflinching clarity. Clouding the issue with artificial images of same-sex couples being forcibly separated and jailed only plays into our opponents hands.


September 26th, 2012

So as not to be simply a ‘complainer’, I would suggest the proper statement should be,

‘…will decide whether same-sex couples unions will receive proper legal protections by being recognized by the state…’.

Agreeably it isn’t as catchy or ‘jaw dropping’ as the original phrase, but it ties in well with the 14th and gets the conversation started off in the right place.


September 26th, 2012

You are failing to grasp the multiple meanings of marriage. You confuse the social ceremony with the legal action. In the law, getting married means going through with the contract and paperwork. Not the ceremony.

It is, in fact, not a hyperbole to say same sex couples are not allowed to be married, because in the legal application of the word they are not.


September 26th, 2012

Sorry, Sandhorse, but your interpretation of Jim’s statement is more than a stretch. His statement, as you even quoted, was “will decide whether same-sex couples will be allowed to marry.” Nowhere in that statement does it even so much as imply that people will be jailed. There are plenty of things people “aren’t allowed” to do that won’t get them thrown in jail. Heck, there are plenty of things that are not legal that won’t actually get you thrown in jail, such as having a commitment ceremony. Having a commitment ceremony has no legal recognition, and therefore is not legal. But no, no one is going to jail for it, it just has no legal force. Just because you want to use an extremely narrow definition of “not allowed” to mean “illegal under penalty of jail”, doesn’t mean that is correct or even how the average person would read that statement.

Ben in Oakland

September 27th, 2012

It’s interesting reading these comments, because I am more or less a one- issue voter.

But not in the sense your might think.

My belief is this: if you can’t understand that gay related issues are, for the mOst part, about prejudice, hate, fear, and ignorance, not about morals god’s will, tradition, or any of the rest of the lamer talking points, then I question your intelligence and your ability to apply critical thinking, appreciate facts, look at your experience.

And if you can’t manage these things on an issue that flat out doesn’t affect you, then what am I to think about your ability to deal with actually important issues?

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