Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Defending definitions

In this New York Times article, Frank Schubert discusses his role as an opponent of gay marriage. Schubert is dangerously effective when he appeals to people's fear of coming off as a bigot if they oppose gay marriage.  Schubert helps move the argument away from the position that gay marriage is wrong, but that you can't call it "marriage" when two gay people decide to dedicate their lives to one another.  

The divorce rate in this country has been hovering around 50% for a while now, making the "defense of marriage" argument sound thin, presumably even to opponents of gay marriage.  One would suspect that if there was  any real interest in defending marriage, people would start attempting to regulate divorce.

Schubert has helped reframe the argument to appear more palatable to both supporters and opponents.  The New York Times article ran this quote:

'“Everyone has a right to love who they choose,” says an ad now running in Minnesota, “but nobody has a right to redefine marriage.”'

Of course, it's inaccurate to submit that someone doesn't have the right to redefine a word or the act that a word represents.  Your state might have reduced the legal limit of blood-alcohol content when you're operating your car from .10 to .08, effectively redefining "drunk driving".  

And if nobody as a right to redefine marriage, then somebody needs to call the definition police, because Merriam-Webster is in violation.  

It turns out that the definition of marriage has already been changed. So what are people actually going to be voting on this November?  In states that are directly voting to allow or reject gay marriage, regardless of their position, voters will be faced with a moral choice.  

I wonder and worry what it will say about our supposedly great country if couples are denied the right to marry each other.  I wonder what it will mean not only for my friends who are gay, but any of my friends that ever want to get married.  

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