Gay marriage has always been a topic worthy of an argument. Everything about it has been a point of contention and debate, from the legality of the union, to the moral perspectives, even on the political correctness of the term “gay marriage.”
Although it sounds fine for most of us, the term “gay marriage”-even “straight marriage”- is potentially inaccurate to the extent that it implies that the spouses are of a certain sexual orientation.
It is argued that a spouse in a same-sex marriage may be bisexual and not gay, and a spouse in an opposite-gender marriage may be straight, bisexual, or gay. Also, sexual orientation has rarely been a legal or religious qualification for marriage. A gay man could still marry a woman.
To correct this confusion on “gay marriage,” people tried using other terms. Many proponents of same-sex marriage use the term “equal marriage.” This term has also long been used by feminists to describe any marriage. Some argue that the union should simply be called “marriage” since that is how opposite-sex marriage is presented.
Meanwhile, opponents argue that equating same-sex and opposite-sex marriage changes the meaning of marriage and its traditions. Instead they use the term “homosexual marriage.” However, surveys have suggested that the word “homosexual” is more stigmatizing than the word “gay.”
Some publications that openly oppose same-sex marriage put the word “marriage” in scare quotes when referring to it. Notable publications that uses this method are the Washington Times and LifeSite.
Conservative groups argue that “marriage” is a word that same-sex couples merely want to apply to themselves, but have no legal ability to do so in most states. Equal rights supporters argue that it is editorializing and implying inferiority, and point out that the quotes are even used when referring to same-sex marriages in locations where it is legal such as Massachusetts.
Some have suggested reserving the word “marriage” for religious contexts, and in civil and legal contexts using a uniform concept of civil union. Such an arrangement, some say, would strengthen the wall of separation between church and state by placing a sacred institution entirely in the hands of the church while placing a secular institution under state control.
And while the debate has yet to conclude, some people use the term “same-sex marriage” in referring to such unions.