Social Question

DominicX's avatar

Is there a bit of a paradox in the same-sex marriage debate?

Asked by DominicX (28706 points ) February 1st, 2012

Seems to me that both sides of the debate often come down to the basic idea that marriage is, after all, just a word. For the pro-side: if it’s just a word, then why is it so important? If civil unions were allowed that were no different from marriage other than what they were called, would that be satisfactory? Is the word so important? For the con-side: the only thing you won’t allow gay people is the word “marriage”? That’s it? Why not just allow them the word? Are you saying that marriage can be boiled down to a single word?

Just something to think about…

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31 Answers

SpatzieLover's avatar

Maybe instead everyone should have to change the word to describe their alliance to another in legal terms: Merger.

That way it’s legislated to be a lose-lose, as all good legislation is.

@DominicX I don’t understand the hang up on this word at all. I wouldn’t care if what I’m in wasn’t called marriage.

Judi's avatar

It is my opinion that Governments should grant civil unions to heterosexual couples as well as gay couples. Let churches call them whatever they want. Get government out of the marriage business.

Blondesjon's avatar

I agree 100%.

I think the term marriage should be universally renamed to “60% likely to fail within 3 years no matter who you’re fucking”.

and how about some sort of reward for any couples that actually stay the fuck together and make it work?

DominicX's avatar

@SpatzieLover I don’t know how I feel to be honest. On one hand, as a linguist, the sociolinguistic implications of the word “marriage” are such that being married is seen as more significant than being civilly unified. However, I agree with @Judi in that civil unions would be open to straight people as well and if people want marriage to remain in the church, then that’s fine, but then it shouldn’t be fused with government.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

I equate the whole thing with segregation. And this country concluded a long time ago, that separate is never in practice, equal.

I would remedy the whole thing by saying that there are only civil unions, and marriage is a religious thing you get from a church.

SpatzieLover's avatar

I think the whole point right now is to have it be the same in the eyes of the gov’t. Whatever word is chosen by each state should then be legally noticed by the gov’t.
@Imadethisupwithnoforethought Yes, that is my point, too.

Kardamom's avatar

They should stop calling it marriage or civil unions and call it the “I Wuv You” law.

Most same sex couples would probably be OK with it being called a civil union, as long as the rights and obligations were exactly the same (and I just doubt that they would be exactly the same) but the word marriage does have a slightly different sounding (read: better and more legitimate) connotation to it. Kind of in the same way that saying same sex couple sounds a little more skeevy to some folks than simply saying a married couple (because the word sex still scares lots of folks)

zenvelo's avatar

But it is much more than the word, it’s a matter of equal rights. Same sex couples want all the rights and privileges that married heterosexual couples have, such as access to benefits and rights of survivorship. So call it what you might, as long as it is equal for all couples.

Same sex couples want equal rites.

Blackberry's avatar

There’s a little joke that essentially says: I’m only against gay marriage because I don’t want to see gays subjected to that kind of suffering. Lol.

Although some are starting to see the fallacies of marriage, there are still people that think it is special. For example, I kind of despise religion, but I also understand why some people need it or want it.

I still think it boils down to giving one group the same exact rights as another group. “Civil Union” doesn’t satisfy me, because it only says “Fine, we’ll tolerate you and do it just to make you people happy”. The gay marriage issue doesn’t affect me, but I am passionate about it because well….it’s just BS, but what should I expect in this society :/

tinyfaery's avatar

Oh, Dom, mon petit ami. As if these people are rational.

Mariah's avatar

On the pro side, I’d say the big problem even if marriage is just a word is the fact that denying equal rights to particular groups is wrong, period. Even if civil unions are just as good there’s something about the idea of “separate but equal” that beckons back to the days where we separated our bathrooms and pools by race. It’s just not okay.

JLeslie's avatar

As logical as my brain tells me @judi’s answer is, I disagree. I think the word is important, because of what the word means. The truth is being legally married has way more importance generally than being religiously married to society at large. How many married people do you know who are only married by their church and don’t bother with the civil marriage? Plus, the way we commonly use the word marriage typically means, love, companionship, building a life together meant to last forever, is true for all marriages, civil, and religious. Civil Union? So can the one person call the other their husband, wife spouse? It would take a huge shift in definitions of words and semantics. There is nothing wrong with understanding civil marriage is different than civil marriage, which is how it is set up now, even for heterosexuals, but a lot of heterosexuals seem not to know it.

Old question of mine that is related.

SavoirFaire's avatar

It’s not just a word, for one thing, and civil unions come with fewer rights than marriages. They are most definitely not the same thing.

auhsojsa's avatar

I live in California. I’m so over trying to prove to people what is right and wrong, fallacy here and there and etc. For me if anyone denies anyone the right to love and let it be recognized by law, then that person is an oppressor! There’s a special place in hell for those people, ironically.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

I wonder, assuming equal rights were granted, if gays would accept the term “gay marriage” as a legal definition to distinguish it from “marriage” (which assumes hetero union).

I wonder if those opposed to gay marriage would accept those distinguishing terms.

It would be like Ice Cream. Some places only offer one kind. And so you don’t ask for any other kind. You just say “Ice Cream please”… and you get what they give without complaint.

But some places offer multiple flavors. So one must request chocolate, or strawberry. It costs the same… and brings the same satisfaction to those who choose differently.

Now if we take our strawberry ice cream back to the parlor that only serves vanilla, we might expect the owner of that establishment to cry “That’s not real ice cream!”… Would that diminish the enjoyment of those who devour the strawberry… as long as they could get their strawberry at another place?

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I’m firmly on the side that civil unions are not equal to marriage. Separate is not equal in the US.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies I’d call that an attempt at “separate but equal,” which is supposed to be unconstitutional. And according to Loving v. Virginia, marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man.” As far as US law is concerned, then, same-sex marriage should already be legal—and it should just be considered marriage. All of these attempts to make it something else just show continued disrespect for people in same-sex relationships.

Sunny2's avatar

I agree with @Judi. It would solve everything. Churches could deny anyone the rites if they wished and those who were denied would learn that they need to go to a different church.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

What does the minister say at a gay wedding? I now pronounce you ”?”. I don’t know. I’ve never been to a gay wedding. Do they say “husband and wife”?

How is it that we have Mens and Womens restrooms if “separate but equal” is unconstitutional?

DancingMind's avatar

The need for differentiation is still wrong. (To have to say, to use the latest example, ‘gay marriage’ rather than just marriage, puts an assumption into the language that vanilla ice cream is the default, that everything else is different, and in need of distinction because it’s not ‘normal’—which is both wrong, and incorrect.)

The bathrooms: I think it has more to do with men being able to stand, and women having a monthly cycle. (And I know those aren’t always the case.) But it’s still not, I don’t think, a totally accurate comparision. Because if we wanted, or more aptly, needed to, we still could go into the opposite-sex’s bathroom.

Although, now that I think about it, women darting into the men’s bathrooms is, I think, considered more acceptable than men into the women’s…

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Well I understand the argument against “separate but equal”, and mostly agree with it. But if society in general is going to be converted to thinking differently, then the issue must be addressed at a very early age.

Consider we generally separate genders and classes from childhood, in sporting events, and social activities such as scouts. But it also goes beyond gender or sexual orientation with advanced education (unless no child left behind is to be embraced)... and also with body types preventing obese people from becoming astronauts, horse jokeys, or thin folks from becoming sumo wrestlers and offensive linemen. Can a midget try out for the NBA? Can a woman?

Point is, that if society is to be steered away from the “separate but equal” position, then our entire culture may be forced to reconsider how children are raised from the beginning. We can start with getting rid of girls/boys isles in the toy stores and put G.I. Joe next to Vacation Barbie.

Mariah's avatar

@DancingMind! Good to see ya!

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

I just heard on the radio this morning that Washington Senate legalized same sex marriage yesterday. Good for them.

Is that the politically correct way to say it… same sex marriage instead of gay marriage?

I sure didn’t mean to offend anyone.

bkcunningham's avatar

If a transgendered male to female marries a female, is it considered same sex marriage?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Does anyone know what a minister says when pronouncing the same sex couple officially married? I’m sorry to be ignorant of these things. Is there a husband or wife title within same sex marriages?

zenvelo's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Each couple can choose what they want to have said. “Married Partners”, “Husbands”, “Wife to Each Other”. Many people in a same-sex couple may refer to the partner as “my husband” or “my wife” , but others will say my life partner, or my spouse.

There are no rules, the beauty of this is that each couple gets to define its own joy. Isn’t that what it’s all about anyway?

Kardamom's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies The ceremony that I went to, my friend who married his same sex partner (my friend’s brother was the minister) he said, “I now pronounce you married.” After that, the couple referred to each other as spouses.

ScurvyChamp's avatar

I think the issue is what you deem to be the purpose of marriage. The Catholic church says that marriage is the only environment in which children can be raised, indeed this is its purpose: to create a dynamic where there is no harmful sexual conduct and children are nurtured.

If you think this is the purpose of marriage, then homosexual marriage is pointless.

However! If you think that the purpose of marriage is the recognition of the state by two people who love each other: Denial of the ability to marry (which is a right under the 1948 UN charter) implis that the state thinks they are illegitimate. Which obviously is not acceptable!

I think the issue of same sex marriage is about the recognition by the state of homosexual relationships. This is definitely preferrable to the state selectively recognizing couples, (and giving different tax breaks to couple of different orientation, which would obviously many would see as unjust)—but maybe less preferable still to the Gov’t not recognizing marriage at all.

Do we need the state in our relationships? Why can’t three people get married if they want to, or why can’t I marry myself? the state could back off completely and devolve the power to marry two people to any willing party!

Though this would be different for religious married same-sex couples who want to raise kids under the catholic model—especially where adoption agencies are run by the church.

SavoirFaire's avatar

“It’s very dear to me, the issue of gay marriage. Or, as I like to call it: ‘marriage.’ You know, because I had lunch this afternoon, not gay lunch. I parked my car; I didn’t gay park it.”
—Liz Feldman

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies What is said at a wedding—any wedding—depends on the couple. No one read the “I now pronounce you _____” line at my wedding because it wasn’t part of the ceremony we chose. As for bathrooms, I don’t see the parallel. They are separated for privacy and safety reasons, not because some people think that one sex should have real bathrooms and everyone else should just have something similar. It’s real bathrooms for all as far as I know.

I don’t quite get your other examples, either. People of any height are already allowed to try out for the NBA. Same with the other jobs you mentioned. There are qualifications for each of those jobs, however, that make people with certain qualities less likely to get them than people with different qualities. That’s differential hiring based on ability, not based on some arbitrary trait. As Florynce Kennedy once said: “There are very few jobs that actually require a penis or vagina. All other jobs should be open to everybody.” The issue is relevance.

@ScurvyChamp Same-sex couples are just as capable of raising children as opposite-sex couples who are sterile. Both have the option of adopting. And if someone argues that gay people shouldn’t be allowed to adopt because they can’t get married, they’d just be getting themselves into a circular argument. I would suggest, then, that even arguments about the putative purpose of marriage won’t work. There’s just no good reason to be opposed to letting same-sex couples get married.

@Sunny2 Churches can already deny rites to anyone they choose, and legalizing same-sex marriage won’t change that.

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