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I really don't like to republish anything I've already written, but two diaries today, one on the Community Spotlight list, make it necessary to bring back a diary on what it is that we call it when committed gay and lesbian couples marry. If it were really "gay marriage" and not "marriage," do you think anyone would be making a fuss about it?

Seriously, words have meanings. As I wrote LAST MARCH,

Look how the right has reshaped political reality; tax relief, death tax, earmarks, gay marriage, "pro-life."  They can do this because the mainstream media is lazy (we're all lazy, actually), and will accept the simplest framing of any issue just to make it comprehensible for the lowest common denominator viewer or reader.
Yes, we're all lazy. Looks great when a Daily Kos headline says "gay marriage," doesn't it. If the progressive left can use the term, right? It proliferates.

A reminder of the problem and a trip down memory lane below the great orange veil-holder.

The last time I addressed this, I was preparing the paper you've already seen:"If marriage is in trouble, it's not marriage equality's fault." I introduced it with a couple of paragraphs that indicated how the defenders of "traditional marriage" (which only existed in this country for about fifteen years, according to Stephanie Coontz), and at the defenders' websites (no surprise) you won't see the phrase "marriage equality" anywhere.

These are the examples I used 14 months ago:

As Scott Wooledge posted yesterday, the ballot language on the marriage referendum in Washington had to be rescued from the Republican AG Rob McKenna, who wanted to say "The bill would redefine marriage to allow same-sex couples to marry, apply marriage eligibility requirements without regard to gender, and specify that laws using gender-specific terms like “husband” and “wife” include same-sex spouses."  The final ballot measure, which is an affirmation of the marriage-equality bill, doesn't include the phrase "redefine marriage,"  which Scott observes is the National Organization for Marriage's top selling point (according to them).

We REALLY dodged a bullet on that, if this article, Washington ballot best chance for foes of same-sex marriage (February 16, 2012) is true -- the foes of marriage equality had two measures they were circulating, an initiative that would (yes) redefine marrage as between a man and a woman, and a referendum that would "repeal the gay-marriage law.  I've linked the article only so you can see that the word "equality" is nowhere to be seen.  We know about that (I was trying to find the link to the hate group that filtered news reports to change "Gay" to "Homosexual" which produced the headline about the runner Tyson Gay, but Google changed "Homosexual sets record" to "Gay sets record", so something has changed), but it's still surprising to see the refusal to use "equality" in reporting.

Finally, there's New Hampshire Cornerstone, (h/t Scott Wooledge for this too) which is even squeamish about it.  Expand one of the listings on the front page, and you'll see:

Please join Cornerstone Policy Research, New Hampshire’s Family Policy Council, for an evening lecture on “Making the Case for Traditional Marriage in New Hampshire” given by renowned marriage expert Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse.

In just a couple of weeks, the New Hampshire House of Representatives will vote on a bill to repeal same-s*x marriage, HB 437.  Dr. Morse, who was a leading voice supporting the well known Proposition 8 campaign in California against same-s*x marriage, will discuss why it is critical that New Hampshire pastors and citizens fight to restore traditional marriage in the Granite State

"same-s*x marriage!  Good heavens!  Can't say "sex"?  Who are these people afraid of offending?  Not the LGBT community.

You know, I really thought that when we got to 12 states, and Brazil, and France, I wouldn't especially care what you called it. But now "gay marriage," especially if your diary doesn't use the phrase "marriage equality" anywhere in it, sounds even more ignorant and bigoted that it did in March 2012! And I KNOW that if you're writing enthusiastically about laws that institute marriage equality you aren't ignorant or bigoted, Really, in your headlines. MARRIAGE EQUALITY, please!

Originally posted to Political Language and Messaging on Wed May 22, 2013 at 06:49 AM PDT.

Also republished by Angry Gays.

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