Marriage Equality Is About Marriage. Period.

I want to be legally married to my wife. I don’t want special rights, just the same rights that are granted to all heterosexual Americans. I don’t want to redefine marriage, rather I want my relationship with my spouse to be recognized and respected as a committed relationship just as other legal spouses are, with the same rights and responsibilities.

Within any same-sex union, marriage is marriage. In terms of how married couples live in the world, being in love, being committed, being responsible to and for each other, some times raising children, certainly working and paying taxes, being there for one another through sickness and health, prosperity and poverty, same-sex couples are no different than opposite-sex couples.

Whether between a man and a woman, two women, or two men, Marriage isn’t straight or gay. Marriage is marriage.

The marriage equality movement is about civil rights, not special rights, as our opponents continue to bark. As long as the media and popular culture continue to frame the marriage equality movement using the term of “gay marriage,” there will be people who see it as an issue of special rights and redefining marriage. This is simply not the case.

The other day on Twitter, the LA Times tweeted a headline about “gay marriage. ” I tweeted back asking that they use the term “marriage equality” instead. I was pleasantly surprised that someone actually tweeted back at me that “gay marriage” is actually in their style guide. This would never have occurred to me!

It turns out that the Associated Press Style Guide recommends using the term “gay marriage” (scroll down to the section on “Debates Over Terminology”) in articles about same-sex marriage, sometimes simply to save headline space! To their credit, they also recommend simply using the term “marriage” in articles about marriage equality. But clearly some education still needs to occur.

Since it’s updated every year, I think that supporters of marriage equality should lobby the AP to update that recommendation. I’m not entirely sure how to go about doing this, so I’m open to suggestion. However, I’m going to start simply by emailing their general address.

We started a civil rights revolution five years ago. We can certainly continue to influence this positive cultural shift.

6 thoughts on “Marriage Equality Is About Marriage. Period.

  1. Daniel

    This issue does not just affect equality in the GLBT sense. This issue cuts at the heart of liberty itself. Many straight people do not live vanilla lifestyles. If the government can deny liberty to one group, then it can deny liberty to any group. This does not even constrain to marriage. Marriage gives us just one context. There are many sexual and relational practices that one larger group can decide to ban and punish. If we are to live in an open and free society, citizens need to accept all of the cultures and orientations present in our society. If this basic principle is not followed, then we destroy our liberty. I would argue that even the people perpetrating these discriminatory laws and movements undermine their own liberty in the process. It is in the best interest for all of us to accept each other. The GLBT community embodies this very principle. They accept all and punish no others.


  2. Silvia

    Great post. “Gay marriage” is like “female doctor” or “black executive”… It marginalizes certain people and makes the dominant group the norm. I hate it, too.

    I’m lucky to live in Canada. While I critique the institution of marriage as a whole, I think it’s different for queer people. It’s been denied to us and its rights have been denied to us.

    When we got married, I suddenly felt less invisible in society. It was wierd, because we always lived out lives. But having legal substance put us back into the structures of society. I also felt that nobody now had the right to raise eyebrows at our relations: “My marriage license is just as good as yours.” I was surprised at how differently it made me feel.


  3. The illegitimacy rate among African Americans is 70%.

    We cant defend what we cant define..

    Stop thinking of yourselves and your felt need for inclusion.

    Children need Mothers and fathers & society needs clear values as to Marriage.


  4. Fitz, I’m not sure what your point is here, so I’m not sure how to respond. If your point is that children should be raised by loving committed couples, that to my mind is another argument in support of marriage equality. The population of gay and lesbian couples who are having children is growing, and those families are deserve to be recognized as a family unit.

    As for thinking only of ourselves, your statement implies selfishness, as if we are asking for special rights, which simply isn’t true. We are asking for fairness, equal protection under the law that all other American families benefit from. We simply want the same protections for our loved ones; inheritance rights, social security benefits, equal taxation, child custody and adoption rights, hospital visitation rights, etc.

    Extending the rights and responsibilities of marriage to same-sex couples will actually strengthen the institution of marriage in our society, a need that you indicate is important for all families and all people.


  5. Here is the email that I sent to the general request email address for the Associated Press:

    “Greetings. It has come to my attention recently that the Associated Press Style Book recommends use of the term “gay marriage” for articles about same-sex marriage and the battle for marriage equality. I would like to request that you recommend no longer using this term, as it has implications that are misleading.

    Same sex couples are not lobbying for special rights, but rather equal rights. The term “gay marriage” frames the issue in such a way as to convey that it is a different type of relationship than opposite-sex marriage. This is inaccurate.

    Also, not all people who would benefit from marriage equality identify as gay (ie women). “Gay” is a term that is by and large associate with men, women are lesbians, not gay.

    Please use the term “marriage” when you need to conserve headline space, and in writing in general, please recommend “marriage equality” or “same-sex marriage.”

    Thank you for your consideration. If there is a better email address to send these concerns, please let me know.”


  6. YES to ending GAY MARRIAGE! great post!

    The media’s use of the term ‘Gay’ Marriage is annoying; it presupposes Queer Love is “different than” Heterosexual Love. ‘Same-Sex’ Marriage requires its counterpart, ‘Opposite-Sex’ Marriage….which gets cumbersome and silly.

    Marriage Equality is best.

    Perhaps one day we will become enlightened enough to embrace this definition for ALL couples:

    MARRIAGE – a Union between 2 Human Beings,
    embodying Love, Trust, and a Mutual Respect and Responsibility for the other.

    Isn’t quibbling about WHOM has WHAT plumbing called SEXISM?

    BTW – For those of who fidget and squirm every time I use the term “marriage”, you need to understand that committed relationships between 2 members of the same sex have existed since Time Immemorial – it’s just that these Sacred Unions have not had the legal protection that The Exalted Heterosexual Marriage enjoys.
    I am personally FED UP with “having to be liked enough” for equal rights, and believe EQUALITY is ours to TAKE and I refuse to beg for it.

    EQUALITY TAX REVOLT – Wednesday, April 15, 2009

    Amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression!


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