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GAY MARRIAGE: The term suggests that same-sex couples are seeking a separate institution, but lesbia

October 21, 2008

Summary: Where marriage is permitted for same-sex couples, call it "marriage," never "same-sex marriage" or "gay marriage." The construction "gay marriage" suggests that same-sex couples are seeking a separate institution that would, by definition, exclude straight couples. Gay and lesbian couples seeking the protections, rights, and responsibilities of marriage want to join the institution of marriage as it now exists. Marriage licenses provide couples access to more than 1,000 state and federal rights and protections that safeguard their families. Few of those rights can be secured through private contracts, which is why gay and lesbian couples are working for access to all the rights of the committed, long term relationship known as marriage. Incidentally, People For the American Way posted an item about how the language police at the American Family Association’s OneNewsNow site tripped themselves up recently. Their website’s auto-replace function translates the word “gay” to “homosexual,” including in articles in their summary from the Associated Press. A posted article on Tyson Gay thus renamed the U.S. sprinter Tyson Homosexual and ran, until corrected, under a headline reading “Homosexual eases into 100 final at Olympic trials.”

For more information on the forthcoming Unspinning the Spin: The Women's Media Center Guide to Accurate, Bias-Free Language, click here.