September 2, 2011
By Adam Bink
Over at AMERICABlog Gay, John Aravosis muses on the eternal debate over what to call gay marriage marriage equality same-sex marriage the freedom to marry a marriage between people of the same sex:
I find myself on the blog struggling for what word to use. Joe often prods me to change “gay” marriage to “same-sex” marriage. I’m not convinced it’s much better. I’ve at times used “marriage equality,” but I sometimes fear that it’s code that non-gay people won’t get. The thing is, it’s quite clumsy when you try to write around the phrase “gay marriage.” I’m open to suggestions, but you really need to look at a sentence the phrase is already in and then try to rewrite it.
It’s generally accepted in many quarters that “gay marriage” isn’t a smart term to use — it rubs people like, say, lesbian friends of mine the wrong way, it polls worse, and it denotes a separate institution when all people really want is to share an institution — marriage.
I find myself using “same-sex marriage” most of the time. I do find “marriage equality” to be like “LGBT” — a code among people in communities such as this but a term that requires more explanation outside of it. When I say something like “we’re looking at ballot measure on marriage equality” to a curious family member, they have no idea what I’m talking about.
I noticed that the eloquent writer to whom John links making the case against “gay marriage” doesn’t, however, suggest a term of his own, e.g., what he would use in the sentence above that I outlined. People are considering a legislative push in Washington State to legalize the freedom to marry between same-sex couples (that’s a mouthful) and I wonder what term he would use.