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This is going to be fairly brief, but I hope raises an important point. There is a substantial difference between referring to yesterday's epic win in New York as a victory for "same-sex marriage" and referring to it as a victory for "marriage equality."

Politics operates around language -- "conservatives" and members of the Republican party typically realize this better than progressives do. Excessive use of scare quotes, I realize, but concepts like the "war on terror," which never was a war and rarely focused on actual radicals intent on committing acts of terrorism was and has been an extremely powerful political concept focused almost entirely on a phrase that captures the imagination in a compelling way. Language games get tricky -- those of us who get physically ill when encountering the concept of "framing" understand this quite well. Yet, as icky as it may be, framing is critically important (even if vaguely Orwellian) when trying to make a political point or to advance an issue through the political process.

There is no actual distinction between "same-sex marriage" and "marriage equality" -- both terms refer to a legislative or judicial removal of the restriction prevalent now in 44 states that prohibits two individuals of the same gender to enact a legal procedure by which they are permanently linked (unless later dissolved) and enjoy the rights and benefits that state allows to two individuals who make that decision. The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), of course, denies those rights and benefits to any same-gender couple federally, regardless of state law.

Yet, there is a distinction -- and an important one -- between those terms. "Same-sex marriage," again, is functionally no different from "marriage equality," yet marriage equality presents the entire point of the LGBT rights movement in its essential form, and in a way "same-sex marriage" doesn't. The point being equality. Same-sex marriage isn't a special right that should be afforded to a defined and differentiated class of individuals. It's the same fundamental and equal right states and the federal government afford to opposite-sex couples willing to accord their relationship a legal status. It's the right to formalize love and commitment. I assume most of us here, and most progressives in general, recognize that gender is entirely incidental when it comes to that point -- marriage being a legal recognition of two individuals' commitment to one another.

So let's call it for what it is -- marriage equality. And civil rights. Words do matter, and this fight -- despite last night's amazing victory -- is far from over. It's only getting started, and as always, the power of bigotry is strong and mobilized. This is a battle worth picking, and language matters.

11:07 AM PT: Cross-posted at destructiveanachronism.com

Originally posted to benjaminntaylor.com on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 11:03 AM PDT.

Also republished by Angry Gays, LGBT Kos Community, Milk Men And Women, Progressive Policy Zone, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Im hetro and I have no fucking clue.... (8+ / 0-)

      the ins and outs. Nobody gives a fuck whether I do or not. All I know is I cried when the auditorium went up in screams after the verdict was read for the homo community. So language, smangmitch.

      Paul Ryans budget is in fact a suicide note.

      by tdslf1 on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 11:24:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Word, and that's fantastic! (14+ / 0-)

        But language does matter -- it's a long-term fight that, I think, we have the momentum on (we being all Americans who care about civil rights, not just the LGBT community), but the language does matter. There's a lot of money and power behind bigotry -- look at NOM and what happened in Cali. The concept of equality is just extremely powerful, and can get to individuals who might not personally know any openly LGBT individuals and might be less receptive to the concept of same-sex marriage.

        "Life has become the ideology of its own absence." -- Adorno

        by destructiveanachronism on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 11:31:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  When hetero's incorrectly use gay-marriage, (15+ / 0-)

        same-sex marriage, or marriage equality as if they are synanamous it doesn't bother as much as when members of the "communities" do, because hetereo are usually making this error innocently, as they lump every one in the GLBTIQA together assuming we are all one big happy family supporting each other in solidarity.

        Sadly, there is a sub-set of both gay and lesbian communities that seem to do it as intentional snubs of the broad spectrum of the transgender and gender  queer communities.  

        Some others in the gay, and lesbian communities do it innocently, out of ignorance of the sensitivities, but still it is harder to have sympathy for this ignorance in 2011 in the communities.

        Those with gender identity issues rather than gender orientation issues have faced a great deal of historical discrimination, especially from two distinct minorities of the most supportive gay, and lesbian, (also bisexual communities.)

        If male to female transsexual want to marry a male, she does not usually consider herself to be a homosexual engaging in a "gay marriage" but a regular woman engaging in a normal hetero-sexual marriage to a man.
        In most states, after a sex-change operation, and meeting the criteria of the Benjamin standards she can get her birth certificate changed to reflect her true gender and can therefore by married legally as a "hetero-sexual' despite what Republican, or the radical elements of the lesbian and gay communities might want to say about it.

        However, of all the people with transgender identity issues, perhaps less than 1 in 100 to 1 in a 1,000, undergo this full transition to change their genders surgically, and legally.

        First, of all these surgeries, are expensive, (can range between, $20,000 for basic MtF, or $50,000 for FtM) not including twice these amounts for various cosmetic surgeries.  Some have age, weight, or other health issues, or fears of losing orgasmic capability.

        Even within what I call the broader super-set of the TG communities which I use to include cross-dressers, CDs, transgender, and transsexual communities, some, a minority, but sometimes loud, "hard-core"  TS, put down TGs as incomplete woman, (I am not as familiar with the FtM to know if this happens as much there, I think maybe not, but don't know)

        Anyhow, the point is that there are a whole lot of folks whose birth certificate says they are male, or female, when they psychologically consider themselves to be the opposite gender.  Some have reached a compromise with themselves not even to try to "pass" as the opposite gender and live as males, even though they and their partners and friends, consider them to be female.

        Even though others on the outside might consider them to be "gay" or "lesbian" they do not.  They consider them selves to be in hetero-sexual relationships.

        But, there are some in the TS communities that have fully adopted the traditional male-female, masculine-feminine dichotomies and have just switched sides.  And, consider "half-way" transgender people "embarrassments."

        Others, are so disgusted with the requirement that they have to justify or explain their private subjective gender identity definitions to other often hostile people that they created a new category of gender queer, bi-gendered (not physical  intersex conditions (1 out of 2000 births), androgenous, gender-mindfucked, and other "labels."

        When "straight" people get confused about this, it is usually laughed off.

        But, when members of the GTLBIQA "communities" say 'gay marriage" instead of the more inclusive "marriage equality," especially, from the gay, or lesbian community is "rankles" many as intentional exclusion and discrimination, in a long history, of inter-group tensions, and even hostility.

        Several decades ago, a famous feminist lesbian wrote a book, with a name close to "The Transsexual Empire" in which she insisted that no such thing as transsexuals existed, that MfF TSs these were "mentally ill men who were allowed to mutilate themselves, by immoral and profit motivated doctors.  She also asserted CD's  and members of the "fetish"communities suffer from the mental illness issues of paraphilia.

        And, one famous gay tenured gender studies professor says there are no such thing as Male to Female transsexuals or transgender people but only "confused"  effeminate gay males, who are "conned" into transsexual or transgender identification, by a conspiracy of "confused" or mislead victims of homophobia.

        Also, some in the male gay communities who gained mainstream acceptance by vigorously adopting traditional "male-masculine" stereotypes, weight lifting, and adopting "hyper-masculine" personas find effeminate homosexuals, TS, TGs, androgenous, and gender queer folks embarrassing.

        Barney Frank through the gender identities communities "under the bus" in the first round of the ENDA bill, under the theory that the new "corporate" and mainstream gays and lesbians would have a better chance of getting "gender orientation" protected, if they "cleaved" of the less acceptable gender identity folks.

        Also, last time I was informed by friends within many of these communities New York State largest bisexual organization will not allow CDs, TGs, or TSs to join or participate.  

        And, one of Bostons most famous gay bars will also not allow CDs, TGs, or TSs to join.

        It took almost a decade of sometimes bitter internal fights to get Boston, largest now GLBT health clinic to add the B and the T, and many still have raw feelings about this.

        Many in the intersex communities do not wish to be associated with any of this, but not all.

        When these later group uses the incorrect, and discriminatory, "gay marriage" as the term to label current struggles for marriage equality it is done with intentional exclusionary, and hateful intent.

        I find these latter groups to he hurtful and contrary to the spirit of tolerance and support of individual's right to define their own subjective gender experience the way we want to.

        Given the long histories of hurtful, and even hateful disputes, marriage equality has emerged as the most inclusive and positive way of discussing the issue, and is what I prefer.

        There do appear to be a few otherwise reputable and apparently "well intentioned" or, at least, not deliberately hostile, GLBT Kossacks who still deliberately use the term gay marriage despite many requests over the last seven years that they use the term marriage equality.

        I still haven't been able to suss out the reasons, (this isn't one of my top 10 issues personally as I have passed the stage where I have any interest in getting married again.)

        My best current operating assumption, is that some of these well intentioned folks, may think that the issue of marriage equality, is some pandering political ploy to make "gay marriage" less offensive to the mainstream hetero-sexual, GOP, or regressive anti-GLBT communities, which they think is sort of offensive, and stubbornly still use the term "gay-marriage" as sort of an "in-your-face" defiance of being steam-rolled into what they consider to be offensive "politically sensitivity induced pandering they shouldn't have to do."

        But, I can tell you for sure that within my many friends and family withing the broad GLBTIQA communities see the gay's on TV celebrating "gay marriage" instead of "marriage equality" is is deliberate and hurtful exclusion of the gender identify, gender-queer, and several other communities.

        Sad, complicated, and true.

        If you are interested in learning more, one book that helped me understand the tremendous diversity withing these communities is Brain Sex.

        The authors posit that unless we are consciously making at least six dimensions of distinction when we discuss these issues, we will be committing errors of oversimplification, or potentially hurtful confusion to some one.

        Just real quickly.

        Biology of gender and sexuality starts with:

        1. Genotype.  Traditional oversimplification of XX for female, and XY for males leave out over a dozen variations of XXY, XYY, XXX, broken fragments on chromosame etc, that can gives rise to conditions like Klinefelter's (sp?) syndrome, etc.

        2. Phenotype, or how the genes manifest in biological development, can lead to intersex conditions (1 in 2000 births, where babies have no genitals, or both, or various mixtures.  All fetuses start of "female" and the development of "maleness" requires steps that can be interfered with by hormone levels, or other medical conditions within the mother.  State of high adrenalin an lead to masculine features in otherwise genotypically females.

        3. Sexual Orientation.
        4. Sexual Identification.
        5. Sexual Affectation.
        6. Sexual Expression

        can all be matters of a spectrum rather than binary either or situations.

        Like the McKensey scale ranking "Heterosexual to Homosexual" into a gradient of 7 degrees.

        But, even if you just think of these as binary distinctions of "classically" male or female stereotypes some claim this is at least 128 different sub-categories of combinations.

        And, many gender-queer, and gender-mindfuck folks reject all external attempts to reduce their unique individuality into "simple minded' categories, for the convenience of  "simple" minded people unable to deal with them for who they are, rather than our conceptual "objectifications" of them.

        But, as I said if you a friendly, good natured, "ordinary," "normal" heterosexual person you will probably be given a pass as most of these folks overcompensate to be extra tolerant, inclusive, and accepting.

        Except for the increasingly rare open homophobes on the right, most of the tension I've seen comes from within these communities by the sad minority, who think their uniqueness automatically qualifies them as an expert, sometimes to the exclusion of the other 127 kinds of sub-category experts you might find here.

        I'm deliberately overly simplifying this to make certain points.

        Don't worry, just be friendly and accepting and use the term marriage equality rather than the exclusive and sensitive "gay marriage" and you should be okay.

        Sorry for such a long comment, but with all the progress lately, it puts a sour taste in my mouth to see so many still using the term "gay marriage" especially by CNN, who has enough community members that they should know better.

         

        The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

        by HoundDog on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 04:59:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Excellent point (4+ / 0-)

          And I hope I've made myself clear on this -- I support the law making equal two individuals -- regardless of anything else -- taking the fucking enormous step of pledging their lives to each other. That's what I support. As a member of the LGBT community, marriage equality means everything to me, I support every minority sexuality community I come across, with full recognition that my public words/actions never give justice to everyone who deserves justice. Thank you to everyone who's called me out on neglecting a certain community, and may justice find us all.

          "Life has become the ideology of its own absence." -- Adorno

          by destructiveanachronism on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 06:44:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  we should also be VERY conscious of our lesbian (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JesseCW, sb, evergreen2, wishingwell

          sisters, too!!!

          i came out during the sunset period when "gay" was all-inclusive and considered the monolithic term for the glbt community.

          not long after coming out, the lesbian community insisted upon their own identity. it is hurtful, some 30+ years later, to be so stubborn to say something like "gay" marriage. it's deliberately exclusive...both to the transgender community but also the lesbian community.

          "I believe that marriage is between a man and woman and I am not in favor of gay marriage..." and, also: "Now, for me as a Christian — for me — for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix." ~ barack obama

          by liberaldemdave on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 07:10:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I've known lesbian women (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            liberaldemdave, sb

            who have referred to themselves as "gay." I didn't realize (as a gay man, myself) that this was typically a point of contention.

            •  many do... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              sb, evergreen2

              many, however, find the term offensive...i came out just after the whole women's movement peaked, too, and that's probably why i recall such a huge pushback in the lesbian community.

              that said, i've been married and "out of the loop" other than online for many years.

              "I believe that marriage is between a man and woman and I am not in favor of gay marriage..." and, also: "Now, for me as a Christian — for me — for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix." ~ barack obama

              by liberaldemdave on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 09:20:40 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  That should be diary (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sb, evergreen2

          After the Republicans burn down the world, they will prove the Democrats did it.

          by jimraff on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 07:59:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  My head is spinning (0+ / 0-)

          I agree, language is important.

          It seems to me that the only correct term is same-sex marriage. Since that is the only test that has been removed with this law.
          If I follow your line of reasoning, I can think of some groups that may not agree that this law is about marriage equality.

    •  Marriage equality (6+ / 0-)

      YES.  My 16 year old niece, my 16 year old nephew, and my 16 year old cousin/godson sees the justice in marriage equality.

      In two years, they will be voting.

      It's about time I changed my signature.

      by Khun David on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 07:59:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  more marriage equality (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ebohlman

           Another thing that is cool about the term "marriage equality" is that it connects to an ongoing struggle from different points. Within my lifetime there were parts of the country where people of different races or ethnic backgrounds could not marry. Also there have been times and places where people of different religions or castes could not marry. Marriage equality is an all-encompassing term that include equality and human rights for all people.

             That's pretty cool. I am a straight guy (not a "breeder") with no marriage prospects but I am one of all of us celebrating the next step towards equal rights and justice for all.

        I'm not a Limousine Liberal; I am a Prius Progressive

        by Zack from the SFV on Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 01:15:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I use "marriage equality" sometimes, but... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    destructiveanachronism

    ...the fact is that marriage equality means people of the same sex are going to be married.  That's okay.  We shouldn't shy away from saying so.

    Both phrases advance useful notions:
    1) that equality is laudable and what is at stake, and
    2) that gay people of the same sex should be allowed to marriage each other

    And this is why I use one phrase, then another.

    •  I don't disagree, but... (14+ / 0-)

      "Marriage equality" better represents the idea -- the essential idea -- that members of the LGBT community aren't different from straight folks. We might be a minority when it comes to loving the same gender as opposed to the opposite, but it's the same feeling, same relationship, same difficulties in that relationship, but no essential difference.

      "Life has become the ideology of its own absence." -- Adorno

      by destructiveanachronism on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 11:19:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  the term gay marriage is exclusionary and (7+ / 0-)

        offensive to some in the gender identify and gender queer communities.

        Using the more accepted and inclusive marriage equality will avoid accidentally hurting some folks feelings.

        Thanks.  

        The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

        by HoundDog on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 05:11:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  In general, I agree with you (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        amsterdam, Victor Laslo

        "Marriage equality" has emerged as the preferred term.  But it also has the problems of not being specific and of being over-inclusive.  As with "climate change," people who aren't paying a whole lot of attention to the issue (which is lots of people, though maybe none on DKos) may not really know what it means.  "Now men can marry men and women can marry women" -- that they get.

        The other related problem is that "marriage equality" is a slogan that could be taken up by other groups.  It could easily include marriage between first cousins in states that don't allow it, for example.  You may favor that, oppose that, or not care, but there is something nice about a term that can't be appropriated.

        You raise a good point, but neither term seems like a mistake.

        To protect the Latino "community of interest" in redistricting Orange County, Santa Ana, eastern Garden Grove, and central Anaheim must be in the same legislative districts.

        by Seneca Doane on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 10:08:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I'm a guy. It's my gender. Leave my sexuality (5+ / 0-)

      alone, and don't speculate about what kind of sex I'm having.

      "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10

      by Bob Love on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 02:54:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  So are you deliberately intending to exclude and (3+ / 0-)

      be insensitive to those with gender identity issues, Collideascope?

      I have about two dozen friends in the the broader trans communities.

      Those that are Male to Female transsexuals, or transgender, which are different groups, consider themselves psychologically to be woman, and their relationships with their husbands, or boyfriends, are not homosexual, but normal heterosexual relationships.

      If you insist on perpetrating you way of thinking about it,  and insisting these are not "women" but gay effeminate homosexual males, pretending to be woman, you will bring them to tears, and some have committed suicide after being the brunt of such cruelty.

      Is this your intent?

      Marriage equality recognized and respects real diversity in the GLBTIQA communities, that I hope you are just not aware of yet.

      Otherwise, your statements are bigoted hate speech, that some would wish to hide rate, just as if you used the N word, or religiously intolerant bigotry.

      I don't think you mean this, but  you should be aware that some who continue to use gay marriage and same-sex marriage as if they are interchangeable with marriage equality are doing so to be deliberately and hurtful exclusive.

      Please reconsider, if this is done from lack of awareness.  

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 06:16:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  With the Supreme Court, these are not synonymous (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      amsterdam, sb

      I would argue that "marriage equality" and "same-sex marriage" would not be equivalent phrases for the Supreme Court.  Marriage Equality would be a more expansive term for the Chief Justice and the rest of the conservative wing.

      After all, same-sex marriage would, for them, leave out the most discriminated against and oppressed class of individuals in our society, one deeply deserving the full rights every other American enjoys, including the right to marry, and indeed the right to vote, which have to this point been denied by law in every state.  The conservative wing of the court will not consider marriage to be fully equal until it is extended to this last oppressed group, America's corporations.  

    •  It is a matter of framing. (6+ / 0-)

      "Same sex marriage" (or, for that matter, "gay marriage") lends itself to the meme that Gays want "special rights".  Of course, that is total hogwash, but that is how it appears to those who don't really bother to think about these things.

      Marriage equality, however, frames the discussion not in a manner which lends itself to this meme, but rather in a much more comfortable arena to bring people along to joining the banner: Equality.

      One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision -- Bertrand Russell

      by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 03:56:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "Same Sex Marriage" is a term brought to you by (17+ / 0-)

    the same Church that spent 20 years insisting there were no Gay people, only people who "Struggle with Same-Sex Attraction".

    Remember when the term commonly in use was "gay marriage"?  That polled better.  People heard it and thought "Oh, the nice guys down the street want to get married? O.K."

    "Same Sex Marriage", though, tends to get people thinking it's all about sex.  Rather than, you know, marriage.

    Of course, "Gay Marriage" is a flawed term too.  It leaves lots of people out of the discussion and still misses the overall point that this is about everyones rights.

    But...well.  Human beings are weird creatures who sometimes operate on the basis of clang associations.

    Mayan culture was strong enough to save the Mayan people from Mayan civilization.

    by JesseCW on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 11:29:31 AM PDT

    •  Exactly (9+ / 0-)

      It's about equality essentially, and recognizing that humans are creatures who mostly don't fit into the neat descriptions and prescriptions with which we perversely enjoy affixing ourselves.

      "Life has become the ideology of its own absence." -- Adorno

      by destructiveanachronism on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 11:36:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  But gay marriage is used by some to exclude (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sb, evergreen2

      transgender, and gender queer folks, who see marriage equality as the inclusive and acceptable terms.

      There are a small sad minority in the gay, and lesbian communities that are hostile to some withing the transgender and gender queer communities who appear to use the term "gay marriage" to deliberate exclude those with gender identify issue, not gender orientation issues.

      Please use marriage equality unless you mean to intentionally rankle and tear open a scab on a sore point withing our communities.

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 05:16:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  As I said. (5+ / 0-)
        Of course, "Gay Marriage" is a flawed term too.  It leaves lots of people out of the discussion and still misses the overall point that this is about everyones rights.

        Mayan culture was strong enough to save the Mayan people from Mayan civilization.

        by JesseCW on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 06:19:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  if you re-read the comment, (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JesseCW, HoundDog, mamamorgaine

        my dear friend and hetero-ally, jessecw, pointed out the inherent flaws in both "gay marriage" and "same sex marriage". his intent was clear.

        "I believe that marriage is between a man and woman and I am not in favor of gay marriage..." and, also: "Now, for me as a Christian — for me — for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix." ~ barack obama

        by liberaldemdave on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 07:14:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sorry, I thought the comment said he went back (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JesseCW, liberaldemdave, mamamorgaine, sb

          and forth using both terms equally.

          Look, I'm not trying to start anything here.  

          Just asking folks to be as inclusive as possible.

          Many transgender folks such as Rserven and friends of mine not on this site have repeatedly expressed the preference for the inclusive term marriage equality, and expressed that those using the term "gay marriage" as if it meant the same, are hurting and excluding folks.

          If you and JesseCW are cool with this that's great.

          Sorry if I misread the comment.

          For many "gay marriage" and "marriage equality" are not inter changable.

          I've rec'd jesseCW comments many times.   Sorry JesseCW if I misunderstood  you.

           

          The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

          by HoundDog on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 07:58:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You may have confused me with (5+ / 0-)

            someone else commenting in the diary who did say they used them interchangeably.  

            We're cool.  That's why I repeated what I said above.

            "Gay Marriage" has its pluses as a term, but it leaves people out who shouldn't be.

            Mayan culture was strong enough to save the Mayan people from Mayan civilization.

            by JesseCW on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 08:53:45 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Missed this thread earlier (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sb

            I fully support the trans community and regret any terminological slips on my part. Please correct me, was going for people of any gender/any gender identity loving and committing. Hope the point was made, and sincere apologies to anyone in the trans community whom I offended.

            "Life has become the ideology of its own absence." -- Adorno

            by destructiveanachronism on Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 04:06:01 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  "Same-Sex Marriage" was a term used (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      destructiveanachronism

      in that candidate questionnaire to which Obama responded in 1996.  If it's become a bad term, it's more recently than that.  The churches seem to avoid reference to any term beyond "sodomy" or "abomination."

      To protect the Latino "community of interest" in redistricting Orange County, Santa Ana, eastern Garden Grove, and central Anaheim must be in the same legislative districts.

      by Seneca Doane on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 10:11:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  When pretending to be "not hateful" (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sb, kat herder

        "Same Sex Attraction" is the term the Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has used for two decades while claiming that there is no such thing as "gay".

        Mayan culture was strong enough to save the Mayan people from Mayan civilization.

        by JesseCW on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 10:24:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I completely agree with you that marriage between (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          amsterdam

          couples of any sexual orientation should not be described as "same sex attraction."  My point was that is "same sex marriage" is a pejorative term and has been for a long time, no one informed the Windy City Times in 1996.  I conclude that maybe it is not quite so clear-cut as has here been contended.

          To protect the Latino "community of interest" in redistricting Orange County, Santa Ana, eastern Garden Grove, and central Anaheim must be in the same legislative districts.

          by Seneca Doane on Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 08:54:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  its a term designed (0+ / 0-)

            to sound objective enough that people use it in normal non hateful situations, but it speaks to a feeling of unease some people have about sex between gays.

            "We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn

            by Mudderway on Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 10:38:46 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Why did the Windy City Times writer use it in '96? (0+ / 0-)

              Do you think it bespoke some feeling of unease about sex between gays?

              To protect the Latino "community of interest" in redistricting Orange County, Santa Ana, eastern Garden Grove, and central Anaheim must be in the same legislative districts.

              by Seneca Doane on Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 11:38:29 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I think the writer, like so many other people (0+ / 0-)

                used it in good faith. Alot of people don't have unease about sex between gays, but some do, and this term just reinforces that unease, thus making it more likely to be against marriage equality. I'm not argueing that all or even most of the people who use  the term "same sex marriage", do so because of sinister motives, I just think, that the word puts images in some peoples minds, that influence them to be against marriage equality in ways that other terms don't.

                "We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn

                by Mudderway on Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 01:17:33 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  OK. I understand the theory about these terms (0+ / 0-)

                  People have alluded to polling results, which I'd have to see to believe.  From my outsider perspective, I honestly would not expect it to make much of a difference.

                  To protect the Latino "community of interest" in redistricting Orange County, Santa Ana, eastern Garden Grove, and central Anaheim must be in the same legislative districts.

                  by Seneca Doane on Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 02:57:31 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  It's not that "same-sex marriage" is a bad term (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sb, kat herder

        More that marriage equality expresses more eloquently how the LGBT community frames the issue -- because it's true. And tactically -- and I hope I've made this point, if not hit me up, because I will happily defend it -- framing marriage equality is more effective than framing "same-sex marriage." Words matter, and "marriage equality" is substantively different from "gay marriage" or "same-sex marriage." Rambling again, and I know that's not what you meant. Hence a rant.

        "Life has become the ideology of its own absence." -- Adorno

        by destructiveanachronism on Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 03:54:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The words "same sex" (0+ / 0-)

          As I believe you pointed out earlier, are a sticking point for many straight people who are uncomfortable thinking about "gay sex."

          I think one of the reasons that the LGBT community has been so successful in increasing support for marriage equality is because they've changed the terms of the debate from being about what two people do in bed to being about two people who love and are committed to each other and deserve to be treated like any other couple.

          The more I think about this thread, the more I see how brilliant this strategy was, especially looking back on the stereotypes that used to be so rampant, even more so as the AIDS crisis began to receive national attention. Virtually every issue related to LGBT rights was seen by many outside the community as about nothing more than the right to engage in a "deviant" lifestyle that was all about sex.  

          Transforming "same sex" relations from being a central issue in the debate to being entirely beside the point puts the focus where it belongs, on equal rights, a core American value that is helping to move LGBT issues in general from the fringe to the mainstream.

          •  If it makes people uncomfortable (0+ / 0-)

            they should stop thinking about it. What you are suggesting sounds like Orwellian Newspeak to me.

            The issue at stake here is not marriage equality. Marriage equality would arguably include marriage between close blood relatives and polygamy.  

  •  it will be interesting to see how long it takes (6+ / 0-)

    for jurisdictions like New York to start asking themselves what purpose the states' "Domestic Partner" categorization now serves.

    Since there's now no impediment to two persons getting married, either you're married, or you're not, and the marriage benefits in state law accrue to the former but not the latter, with no intermediate categorization needed at the state level to ensure equality.

    The Federal Govt (or the courts) must deal with DOMA benefit restrictions.

  •  i wish i could recommend this diary a zillion time (16+ / 0-)

    s.

    this has been stuck in my craw for some time now. my husband and i didn't get "gay" married. the word gay wasn't on our application for license. it wasn't said during our ceremony. it isn't on our wedding certificate. we got married. full stop.

    the one thing you didn't specifically address is that the framing implies that "gay marriage" is some form of special right. no, there's nothing special about equality (in the right wing too cute by half of the use of the word special when referring to equality).

    this is a paradigm shift (another term i loathe but is really appropriate in this case) that our community must make if we truly wish to see ourselves get full civil equality in the shortest amount of time.

    we should look to our african american brothers and sisters for guidance. imo, the biggest strides were made when the term civil rights was adopted and used over "black" or "negro"  or "colored" (the last two are EXTREMELY offensive words now, but common usage in those days...see: UNCF or NAACP for historical perspective).

    what do we want? CIVIL EQUALITY. when do we want it? NOW.

    "I believe that marriage is between a man and woman and I am not in favor of gay marriage..." and, also: "Now, for me as a Christian — for me — for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix." ~ barack obama

    by liberaldemdave on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 12:45:56 PM PDT

    •  Right on! (5+ / 0-)

      And I hope I addressed that in my responses to the comments I've gotten -- you're absolutely right. "Gay marriage" is NOT a special right -- it's the same right afforded arbitrarily to opposite-gender couple who make the same commitment as same-gender couples. There's absolutely no rational basis for discriminating between same- and opposite-gender couples willing to make that commitment. It's the commitment that matters, not the gender of the individuals making it.

      "Life has become the ideology of its own absence." -- Adorno

      by destructiveanachronism on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 12:50:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Please use the term marriage equality, not (3+ / 0-)

        gay marriage.

        Many transgender people, and gender queer to not consider themselves to be gay.

        A MtF woman marrying a male does not usually consider herself to by gay, despite what it may say on her birth certificate, and still wishes to be granted marriage equality, to get by the discrimination from the law, and external communities.

        But these two "males" consider themselves to be a normal heterosexual community.

        Sadly, there is a long history of open hostility and exclusion from a minority in the lesbian and gay communities against those in the gender identity communities, so this is an issue that rankles many.

        Please see my note above for details.

        The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

        by HoundDog on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 05:24:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  i don't have the ability... (5+ / 0-)

    but someone needs to make sure this gets cross-posted to the glbt groups...immediately, milk men and women and angry gays comes to mind... i'm sure there are also TONS of other groups where this should be crossposted...

    yes, i think this discussion is that important. i find it really mind boggling that ron reagan, jr. found it important enough to CONTINUE stressing the distinction and rachel maddow continues using "same sex marriage" and "gay marriage" interchangeably but i rarely, if ever now that i come to think of it, hear her use "marriage equality". (sorry about the scare quotes...they're an addiction.)

    "I believe that marriage is between a man and woman and I am not in favor of gay marriage..." and, also: "Now, for me as a Christian — for me — for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix." ~ barack obama

    by liberaldemdave on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 12:53:11 PM PDT

  •  Completely agree! (9+ / 0-)

    The language does matter, as we've learned from George Lakoff again and again, and the rightwingers, but then we shrug it off and get our hats handed to us again and again.

    We need to take this victory and run through the Main Streets of U.S.A., gathering up all of those religious moderates who support "equality" with their hearts but still get a little loopy at the "same SEX" aspect.  I agree, it's stupid to need to do this, but we DO NEED TO DO THIS! Just as "interracial marriage" is also marriage quality.

    Sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel isn't the promised land. Sometimes it's just New Jersey. ~Jon Stewart, 10/30/10

    by LisaR on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 01:00:43 PM PDT

    •  Exactly (5+ / 0-)

      And that comparison is apt and important -- fundamentally it boils down to the same thing: granting state and federal rights to a class of individuals arbitrarily discriminated against on the basis of pure prejudice. Just as interracial marriage was abhorrent and just plain stupid, same-gender marriage has no rational basis. It's predicated on simple bigotry, and framing it as a matter of equality is tactically important but also accurate. Love doesn't recognize bigotry, and if two individuals are prepared to link themselves together for the rest of their lives, who has the authority to tell them they can't?

      "Life has become the ideology of its own absence." -- Adorno

      by destructiveanachronism on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 01:07:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Marriage equality... (13+ / 0-)

    ...covers transpeople also, without being disrespectful.

    •  Absolutely (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      liberaldemdave, emsprater

      And I hope I didn't come across as leaving the trans community out -- my point is that when two individuals love each other and can make that sort of lifelong (ideally) commitment to each other, law should respect it and afford equal rights, regardless of anything else, gender included.

      "Life has become the ideology of its own absence." -- Adorno

      by destructiveanachronism on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 01:17:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  And with regard to the trans community (8+ / 0-)

      it's appalling how even pro LGBT bills in states like MA, for instance, don't cover the trans community and don't afford the same protections. I'm going to fight until sexuality of all types is a non-starter when it comes to legislation -- love is love, sexuality is sexuality, and neither should matter when it comes to any sort of state or federal statute.

      "Life has become the ideology of its own absence." -- Adorno

      by destructiveanachronism on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 01:19:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The thing is... (11+ / 0-)

        ...that gender identity is not sexual orientation, so calling transgender a "sexuality" doesn't fit.  Sexual orientation is about who one sleeps with (or would like to sleep with).  Gender identity is about who one sleeps as.

        •  Sincere apologies (5+ / 0-)

          and thank you for the correction. I hope we agree on the point, even if my terminology wasn't accurate.

          "Life has become the ideology of its own absence." -- Adorno

          by destructiveanachronism on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 02:09:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks reserven. (3+ / 0-)

          It's time for folks here to understand that

          gender  genotype,
          gender  phentotype,
          sexual  orientation,
          gender identity,
          gender  and/or sexual affectation, and
          gender and/or sexual  expression

          are all different, and the many folks for whom these distinctions are important appreciate marriage equality as an inclusive terms.

          While "gay's may find the term same-sex marriage a deliberately offensive slam from the rights, may others find "Gay marriage," to be either a deliberate, or ignorant "insensitivity" to the other groups, by those whose only issue is sexual orientation.

          Despite almost seven years of explanations and request here, many continue.  

          It's becoming beyond sad, IMO, that those who demand greater respect from the right, do not seem willing to provide the same respect to others, who've been patiently, asking for way too long.

          In fact, there is increasingly little doubt in my mind that some do this as deliberate exclusion, and hatefulness, because they say so.

          One famous tenured gay sexual studies professors, denies that transsexual people exists, and accuses TG and TS brainwashing, effeminate gay males into confused, homophobic conspiracies.

          Another famous lesbian writer three decades ago, wrote a hateful book called Transsexual Empire that also said "transgender" and "transsexual" do not exist, and are mentally ill folks allowed to mutilate themselves by immoral and profit hungry doctors.  The John Hopkins Gender Reassignment Program was apparently closed, partially as a result of these two campaigns.

          While most in the gay, lesbian, and bisexual communities are supportive, tolerant, etc, there is still a small minority who are even more hateful, and intolerant, than the right-wing bigots, first think of when one thinks of bigotry against the GLBTIQA.

          And, some seem to be continuing to sue the exclusive "gay marriage" to focus on the sexual orientation issues to the deliberate exclusion of the gender identity, and other issues, and communities.

          The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

          by HoundDog on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 05:51:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Perfectly put HoundDog (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            HoundDog, liberaldemdave, sb, Matt Z

            Fucking perfectly well-said.

            And the point I hope I made was that two people who love each other should enjoy equal rights, period. Gender, sexuality, and any variant on the multi-varied spectrum of human sexuality shouldn't matter. I will go to the fucking wall to defend and support anyone who loves another human -- the details are just that: details. I'll support the trans community and anyone who recognizes that love is love to the end.

            "Life has become the ideology of its own absence." -- Adorno

            by destructiveanachronism on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 06:50:21 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thanks destructiveanachronism. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              destructiveanachronism, Matt Z

              Maybe folks will listen to you.

              Thanks.

              It's time to support full marriage equality for all people, now.

              Not just "same sex, or gay marriage" for the few.

              Let's fight this battle one last time to include everyone.

              Not, just for one more sub-group to the exclusion of others.

              The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

              by HoundDog on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 07:00:53 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  After seven year of asking folks in the GLBTIQA (5+ / 0-)

      communities her to use the inclusive, and supportive marriage equality, rather than the offensive and exclusionary "same-sex, or "gay" marriage" I am beginning to realize that some continue to do this to be intentionally exclusionary.

      One of Boston gay bars, will still not allow CD, TG, or TS folks to enter.  Last I heard the largest bisexual group of New York State still excluded CD, TG, TS members,

      In Boston it took a bitter 10 years struggle to get what is now the largest GLBT health clinic to put the B and T up over the hostile opposition from some of the gay and lesbian founders.

      When mainstream folks do this, my friends and I, laugh it off.

      When it is done by people in the communities who know better, or should know better by 2011, it rankles and is hurtful.

      Please see my longer not above, if anyone wants to know details.

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 05:33:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  i am a long time kossack and even longer time (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JesseCW, HoundDog, evergreen2

        activist in our community (the full GLBTQIA and any other initials that need to be added to the acronym). now that i have that out of the way, please consider that glb folks might *not* be being deliberately exclusive here at dKos (at least not in any appreciable number) and this is the first time i've seen it explained from your perspective (although i hope that i have always, unequivocally used the full-spectrum of inclusive language)... i'm not doubting that you have been educating people for the length of time you have stated (why on earth would i!), nor am i trying to excuse the insensitivity of what i *hope* is a very small number of bigoted people in our own community.

        most of all, THANKS for the education!!!

        "I believe that marriage is between a man and woman and I am not in favor of gay marriage..." and, also: "Now, for me as a Christian — for me — for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix." ~ barack obama

        by liberaldemdave on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 07:22:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  well, I haven't written a diary on this for (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JesseCW, liberaldemdave

          probably five years liberaldemdave, but in comments.

          I really hate conflict, which is why I haven't written another diary about this.

          Maybe you guys, can spread the word.

          The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

          by HoundDog on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 07:47:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  LGBT framing on marriage is a good example (9+ / 0-)

    IMO, of successful progressive framing which, many of us here agree, tends not to be our strength as a community. I've also admired the discipline with which leading LGBT organizations have replaced terms like "gay marriage" and "same-sex marriage" with "marriage equality," and I agree with the diarist and other commenters about why the distinctions are important.

    The concept of marriage equality distills the issue down to its fundamental essence and speaks to a core American value that cuts across party lines, both of which, along with discipline in use, are key to successful framing. I really do believe that the LGBT community's shift in messaging on the issue has contributed to the significant growth in public support for marriage equality.

    I also think the LGBT community has done an outstanding job in general of shifting the dialogue away from where many straight people wanted to keep it--all about gay sex and how uncomfortable it makes them feel to imagine it--to consistently focusing on the value of supporting loving, committed relationships. IMO, it's putting mainstream conservatives increasingly on the defensive and making it more difficult for them to maintain a tenable position on all sorts of issues related to LGBT equality, not just marriage.

    The fact that we're no longer even having the debate over whether or not "sexual orientation" is a more accurate term than "sexual preference" speaks to how successful the LGBT community has been in using messaging to shift the debate away from sex, change mainstream attitudes about what the LGBT "agenda" really is, and assume the moral high-ground in the debate at the same time.

    Not that we're there yet by any means, but when I think back on the attitudes among my straight friends in high school vs. the attitudes among my children's high school friends today, I can't help but to be struck by how much progress has been made.

    •  i completely agree with 99.9999% of this... (9+ / 0-)

      ...where i disagree is that our organizations and spokespeople HAVEN'T done a good job of using the term "marriage equality". the vast majority still use "gay marriage", which leaves out the LB&T portions of our community!!! from rachel maddow to HRC, they are all still, predominately (and virtually exclusively) using the term gay marriage! ...even worse, many still use "same sex marriage" interchangeably with gay marriage.

      we need to be vigilant and consistent!

      "I believe that marriage is between a man and woman and I am not in favor of gay marriage..." and, also: "Now, for me as a Christian — for me — for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix." ~ barack obama

      by liberaldemdave on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 01:38:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Message discipline is challenging (6+ / 0-)

        I know from experience that it can be especially difficult when you're working with progressives, because the very need to have to alter your language to make your message more palatable is inherently offensive to progressive sensibilities.

        I happen to enjoy the challenge of it, though, and wish that more progressive organizations recognized the importance of framing and message discipline. The LGBT groups I've worked with here in Wisconsin have been very explicit in schooling Democratic candidates on the terms to use, but it doesn't surprise me to learn that this isn't necessarily the case everywhere.

        And I have to admit being very surprised to learn that Rachel Maddow has been using the terms interchangeably.

        •  as recent as last night... (4+ / 0-)

          ...she was using both same-sex marriage and gay marriage. IIRC, she might have said marriage equality once...mybe twice.

          "I believe that marriage is between a man and woman and I am not in favor of gay marriage..." and, also: "Now, for me as a Christian — for me — for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix." ~ barack obama

          by liberaldemdave on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 03:28:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  She may be doing it out of ignorance rather than (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          liberaldemdave, forester

          deliberate hostility.  She is young enough she may not be aware of the long bitter history of some in the lesbian community old enough to be her grandmother.

          But, they may be influencing her language choice without her being aware of the history.

          Several of us here have explained these sensitivities so many times here over the last six years it is hard to imagine many are unaware of the painful history.

          The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

          by HoundDog on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 05:54:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  very good point... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            evergreen2

            but she's definitely young enough to know that many, if not most, in the lesbian community TOTALLY resent being called "gay".

            "I believe that marriage is between a man and woman and I am not in favor of gay marriage..." and, also: "Now, for me as a Christian — for me — for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix." ~ barack obama

            by liberaldemdave on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 07:27:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Brilliantly put (5+ / 0-)

      This is spot on, and extremely well-said.

      "Life has become the ideology of its own absence." -- Adorno

      by destructiveanachronism on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 01:39:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "Marriage equality" also places the struggle (11+ / 0-)

    for equal rights for same-sex couples in the larger historical context of the shift of marriage from an authoritarian institution to an egalitarian one. Far from being an institution that has been essentially unchanged for thousands of years, it's been in a state of constant change, generally (but by no means always) for the better. Removing gender restrictions from marriage is a development similar to making marriage a voluntary arrangement entered into by a couple rather than a dictated arrangement imposed by parents. It's similar to making marriage a relationship between equal partners rather than a superior and inferior. It's similar to removing racial or ethnic restrictions from marriage. All of these have been steps in the direction of marriage equality.

    Note that in some parts of the world, not even the majority of heterosexuals can yet be said to have true marriage equality. But extending marriage rights to the GLBT communities will likely inspire movements toward general equality in those places, albeit more slowly than we'd like.

    "We recommend, as a precautionary measure, that people with respiratory infections should be advised not to blow their vuvuzela in enclosed spaces and where there is a risk of infecting others."

    by ebohlman on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 02:17:53 PM PDT

  •  Denotations and connotations (8+ / 0-)
    Yet, there is a distinction -- and an important one -- between those terms. "Same-sex marriage," again, is functionally no different from "marriage equality," yet marriage equality presents the entire point of the LGBT rights movement in its essential form, and in a way "same-sex marriage" doesn't.

    The technical term for this is that the two phrases have the same denotation (literal meaning) but different connotations (the associations, colloquially "baggage", that the term conjures up). On Earth, as opposed to Vulcan, connotations are an important form of meaning, however much the "I wish natural languages were more like programming languages and mathematical notation" crowd may wish they weren't. The fact that two people are both referring to the same piece of land when one of them says "Israel" and the other says "occupied Palestine" is essentially meaningless; it's the connotations, not the denotation, that tells you where each of them is coming from.

    Bergen Evans pointed out that if you're a manufacturer of enamel for use on furniture and you want a name for a certain kind of off-white color, both "Old Ivory" and "Pale Custard" would fairly represent the electromagnetic spectrum reflected by the paint. But "Old Ivory" calls up associations that are desirable in this context, whereas "Pale Custard" leads people to imagine a sticky mess that would be a disaster when in contact with furniture.

    This is very mainstream linguistics; considering connotations is not in any way being "politically correct"; it's simply knowing how to use language as a form of communication rather than a hammer.

    "We recommend, as a precautionary measure, that people with respiratory infections should be advised not to blow their vuvuzela in enclosed spaces and where there is a risk of infecting others."

    by ebohlman on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 02:34:27 PM PDT

    •  Excellent explanation (8+ / 0-)

      I can't tell you how many times I've had to explain the importance of connotations to organizations I've worked with on revamping their messaging. It's challenging because the whole point of connotations is that, for most people, they're largely subconscious, so it's easy to come up with bad messaging without even realizing it, especially for people who've had no training in linguistics or communications.

      Another good example of a much-needed shift in messaging would be referring to "climate change" as opposed to "global warming." We left the door wide open on that one to the whole "if global warming is real then why is it so cold this winter?" meme. I still think "climate change" isn't descriptive enough as far as conveying the urgency of the problem, but at least it's more difficult to challenge.

  •  There's no such thing as "gay marriage" (8+ / 0-)

    or "same-sex marriage".

    It's just "marriage"!

    Thanks for this diary.

  •  Right on (8+ / 0-)

    Many good points here.

    The opponents of marriage equality often try, sometimes overtly, sometimes more subtly, to bring in the sex thing so that the "oh, yuck" reaction can occur in some people, rather than the nice guys down the street reaction. They want to make it seem like the only reason for marriage equality (or any other gay-rights issue) is about sex, and often all about sex.  (And these are often the people who complain about how sex-obsessed our culture is?)

    Marriage equality, on the other hand, as you point out, is very much what this is about, equality with others before the law.  That, quite simply, is what the whole movement is after.

    •  Another excellent point mchristi314. (8+ / 0-)

      I grew up in a culture and generation where open discussion of one sexual issues, wasn't done.  (North American pre- 2010)

      Nor political or religious issues.   These were all considered private, to the point that we were warned not to even mention the words if having dinner at someones else house.

      Part of homophobia in my generation wasn't really about civil rights, but, just the shock that folks were suddenly confronted discussion that were taboo.

      Like even saying the word "homosexual" was shocking just because the word sex was in it.  One of my brothers was punished one for using the word "heterosexual" in public.

      A civilized proper person wouldn't suddenly bring up discussion of the masturbation habit, or genitals in mixed company with strangers.

      So, if Martin Luther King, came in and said "homosexuals ought to have the right to gay marriage" grandma might pass out, just from the shock.

      Even though if you asked if every should have the right to marry, and whispered (those others folks she might be sympathetic.)

      I'm sensitive to the fact that we shouldn't have to "pander" to discrimination of the past.

      But, even if the term "gay marriage" and "same-sex marriage" weren't unacceptable by virtue of the exclusion of gender identity folks, I'd still prefer marriage equality because it's clearly a civil rights issue.

      Not other folks trying to push their private sexual issues, into our faces.

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 06:07:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  100% Agree (4+ / 0-)

    If I had my way, I'd go into Wikipedia and rename all the "Same-sex" verbiage in there to read marriage equality. I constantly correct my friends and co-workers who say gay marriage or same-sex marriage...that is not what it is, it truly is marriage equality, and we need all the  organizations that support marriage equality, including the news outlets, to start using the accurate term. I was happy to see the New York bill labeled the "Marriage Equality Act" when I read it online.  And the bill entered into Congress to repeal Section 3 of DOMA is called the Respect for Marriage Act. We need to keep up the enforcement of the accurate term for the use to spread equality and win over our family, friends, and co-workers who need to come on-board.  

    Kudos to Cuomo, NY Assembly, the NY Senate for enacting without legislative force (although I have no issue with that course of action as the SCOTUS is the only way it will happen nation wide to override state constitutional amendments). AND to NY Senate GOP for letting the bill come to a vote when it was only favored by the GOP caucus by 4 of 32 members.

  •  What are we talking about here, religion? (0+ / 0-)

    I'm really not sure religious groups are very relevant anymore when it comes to marriage.  They are the most reactionary element of society we have and frankly I couldn't care less what kinds of marriages they recognize so long as society/government does.  Marriage is a social contract, not so much a religious one.  Religious groups are thankfully becoming more irrelevant and thankfully will someday die off.  They just aren't compatible with modern society and have no real use.  

  •  your diary is spot on. (4+ / 0-)

    reminds me of this issue that has the same dilemma

    illegal aliens (i hate this term) vs. undocumented.

    anyway, as a gay american
    i really appreciate this diary

    thank you.

    Toleration is the greatest gift of the mind; it requires the same effort of the brain that it takes to balance oneself on a bicycle. -Helen Keller

    by ridemybike on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 09:44:51 PM PDT

  •  Rec list? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trashablanca, evergreen2

    First time, and I am flattered. Thank you all!

    "Life has become the ideology of its own absence." -- Adorno

    by destructiveanachronism on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 09:48:53 PM PDT

  •  Cheers for marriage equality (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trashablanca

    So glad it arrived in NY, looking forward to progress elsewhere.

    I must be dreaming...

    by murphy on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 10:25:05 PM PDT

  •  It's like this: (8+ / 0-)

    Now to try to end the wars we ask our gay and straight soldiers to fight. -- Chris Hayes

    by Cali Scribe on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 10:35:07 PM PDT

  •  Marriage is an institution (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    evergreen2, kat herder

    We don't want a separate one, we want access to the existing one on the same terms, with the same responsibilities and the same rights as anyone else.

    It's really that simple.

    There are times when it's necessary to resort to the less desirable expressions in order to make a particular point, but in general, "marriage equality" is the very best term to use.

  •  I prefer "misery equality" (2+ / 0-)

    I've always said that LGBT couples have the same right to be as miserable as the rest of us.

    If I wanted to read how much Obama sucks, I'd be on RedState, not DailyKos.
    --@jameskass

    by ThatsNotFunny on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 11:25:10 PM PDT

  •  'Marriage Equality' has ambiguity in it. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    destructiveanachronism

    It could easily refer to marriages where both partners are equal. It would be an apt phrase for advancing women's rights in hetero marriages.

    So unless there is a public awareness campaign to make 'marriage equality' synonymous with allowing any two adults to marry regardless of gender, it won't work for people who don't know what you're talking about.

    •  Right on (4+ / 0-)

      And I am completely behind that version of marriage equality as well -- but I think there is some momentum, certainly not enough, as commenters have noted, in the LGBT community and the broader progressive community (in its messy overlappingness) to make sure that "marriage equality" is how we brand this civil rights campaign. And yes, typing brand makes me cringe, but let's be honest -- the manner in which progressives present critical issues to the nation is important. The bedrock of progressivism, as I understand it, is that progressives believe (rationally) what we believe, can argue for it, will go to the streets for it, because we believe in what's right for those of us with the smallest voices. Sort of rambling there, but the point I'm trying to make is that that public awareness campaign is exactly the manner in which to combine both the justice aspect (at which progressives are in the right) and the messaging aspect (at which the right is typically just better). Those are the kinds of choices we need to make -- if it means framing withdrawal from Afghanistan along with debt concerns as a pacifist, so be it. These are Orwellian and cynical choices, but the other side is not going to pull any punches. I fucking hate marketing, its concept, how it works -- I think it's evil. But we need to get people who aren't politically engaged on our side, and not just on marriage equality, engaged, and framing is important.

      "Life has become the ideology of its own absence." -- Adorno

      by destructiveanachronism on Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 01:40:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  And more broadly -- (4+ / 0-)

      re: women's rights in hetero or homo marriages (and again, that distinction must disappear) the phrase "marriage equality" SHOULD apply, absolutely. my hope is that marriage as a legal concept gets to the point where it becomes a formalistic legal recognition of two people committing to one another in an equitable relationship. That's what I'm fighting for, and that's where things are headed.

      "Life has become the ideology of its own absence." -- Adorno

      by destructiveanachronism on Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 01:42:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I prefer equality, because it's an easier sell, (0+ / 0-)

    after all, what is more American than equality? But when I say gay marriage, I don't intend to leave out the trans-gendered community. They are the gender they think of themselves as being, and the gay issue should only be about those of them who are gay. I think we would be better off fighting to separate those issues. "Gay marriage" is about whether you can marry someone of the same gender. Insisting that trans-gendered people be given the same rights as everyone else of their gender, is a different fight in my mind. I understand that there is a legal connection, but that connection re-inforces the belief that trans-gendered people are not really what they say they are. Let's separate these very different issues.

    "We live now in hard times, not end times." Jon Stewart

    by tb92 on Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 10:20:08 AM PDT

    •  A person should be allowed to marry any adult... (0+ / 0-)

      ...of any gender.

      I'm unclear if you are of the opinion that all transfolk are straight after transition or what.  If that is what you think, you would be wrong.

      •  As I said, (0+ / 0-)

        "the gay issue should only be about those of them who are gay".

        Too many people think of trans-gendered as still being the sex they were born into, and therefore gay if they marry someone who was also born that sex. We have to make the point that if doesn't matter what genitalia they had at birth. What gender they identify as, is who they are.

        It's frequently said that gender and orientation are different issues. I would like to separate them legally and politically.

        "We live now in hard times, not end times." Jon Stewart

        by tb92 on Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 10:44:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Do you count (0+ / 0-)

        Incestuous relationships in that? I'm not opposed to incestuous relationships, for the record, I'm just curious if it occurred to you and what your position is?

        Aren't they amazing? They could go on forever, aimlessly talking about pointless subjects. Even I'm beginning to admire them for it. -- Nagisa, A Lollipop Or A Bullet

        by Dom9000 on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 06:09:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I do say 'gay marriage' (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    destructiveanachronism

    I dissent on this. I think 'gay marriage' simply means a marriage between 2 persons of the same gender: I think this is a harmless usage. 'Marriage equality' to me is a more generic term that also includes TG relationships. btw the Republican Texas Legislature recently rejected a bill that would make it nigh impossible for TG persons to marry. Stopped by a vigorous phoning campaign.
    I have encountered some disputes over whether the word 'gay' includes lesbians. I think it historically has. For a word meaning gay male, try the Danish word bos (slash through the 'o').
    I will soon be writing about my city's mayor, Annise Parker. I am more likely to say lesbian than gay, but mainly I will bring up matters that are not directly glbt-related.
    One bit of language I emphatically reject: Defense of Marriage Act. It's the SO-CALLED Defense of Marriage Act. Let's have the language disputes with our opposition, not with each other.

    •  Harmless usage - I agree (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      scott5js, destructiveanachronism

      I agree with you on this. Emotions and perfectionism can overboil sometimes, I think, in liberal circles and in LGBT circles (I'm gay, by the way.) I think it is an encouraging trend that many Americans now support what they call "gay marriage" or "same sex marriage." They grasp the concept and accept it. That's pretty exciting to me

      •  Responding to you both (belatedly -- on deadline) (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ebohlman

        I disagree. "Gay marriage" is perfectly accurate, but this is a fight about fundamental rights, and everything those of us -- and I imagine we all agree that marriage equality is something we support -- say and do in its defense and to defend the concept behind it matters quite a lot. The malleability and manipulability of language leaves a sour taste in my mouth as well, but like it or not, that's how language works. There IS is a difference among "blacks marrying whites," "interracial marriage," and "marriage equality." Just as there is a substantive difference among "gay marriage," "same-sex marriage," and "marriage equality." Among those of us who support the concept that the language describes, you're absolutely correct -- it doesn't matter. But this is about advancing rights, and those whom we -- as the progressive community as a whole and more specifically the LGBT community -- need to convince might sympathize more with the concept of equality rather than a right afforded to a "special" class of people. As I've said, the retail part of politics is icky, but the right is extremely good at it, and if we deny its existence out of sanctimoniousness (in general, not making that claim of your opinions in the least), we'll lose.

        "Life has become the ideology of its own absence." -- Adorno

        by destructiveanachronism on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 01:55:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Another problem with "gay marriage" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          destructiveanachronism

          is that even though it shouldn't, the term tends to conjure up more-or-less exclusively an image of two upper-middle-class white men marrying (in reality, female-female couples are the group most likely to marry, probably because at present they're more likely to be raising children). This image causes some progressives to downplay the importance of marriage equality because they assume it's primarily a concern of the relatively privileged (the term "bourgeois" sometimes gets thrown around).

          "We recommend, as a precautionary measure, that people with respiratory infections should be advised not to blow their vuvuzela in enclosed spaces and where there is a risk of infecting others."

          by ebohlman on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 05:35:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Good points (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          destructiveanachronism

          Thanks for your comments. I would agree that it's good to use the phrase "marriage equality" along with phrases like "same sex marriage", etc - just so people know what is being talked about. I would also say that the task of persuasion is not won solely by the use of phrases. People need to really comprehend and accept that something is an equality issue before they will fully sign on to it. Achieving this will probably take additional in-depth and one-on-one communication with people. Having said all that, I don't think our positions on this matter are very far apart.

  •  Cultural evolution as key (0+ / 0-)

    As I see it, this discussion will eventually be resolved by the ongoing evolution in cultural attitudes about gay and lesbian people. Among the growing number of people in our society who affirm full acceptance and legal rights for gays, there is an implicit assumption that being gay is an inherent trait (and okay) and is neither a lifestyle choice nor a disorder. It's interesting to me that this key point is rarely voiced any more among supporters - it is assumed. Among the shrinking anti-gay crowd, the "choice / disorder" characterization is also implied in their arguments against legal reforms, and is sometimes voiced. The eventual, ultimate sea-change in this matter will revolve around a general shift in this "inherent trait and okay vs choice/disorder" pivot point. Once that bridge is crossed (and I sense it being crossed at this moment), the notion of marriage equality vs same-sex marriage will make a lot  more sense to people.

  •  Language Matters (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ryanlkelly

    It certainly does matter.  That is why I now say "climate change" not global warming.  That is why I never say "I am going to school." I say "I am going to work. Students go to school, teachers go to work." That is why long ago I stopped saying "gay marriage" and replaced it with "marriage equality."  And, at a wedding the bride should never, never, never be given away.

  •  Legal Definitions Matter (0+ / 0-)

    Romance and love were not the real reason for the original institution of marriage.  It all had to do with how legal rights were observed as regards inheritance and property.  There needed to be (in the eyes of the law) some sense as to who was who and who got what.

    Having this clearly described is in the interest of anyone who sees marriage as meaningful, whether gay or straight.  If you are a successful gay business person or whatnot, you don't want someone showing up in court with a dubious claim to being your "partner" and therefor wanting a cut of your wealth.

    This has always seemed the real justification for supporting same-sex marriage.  Gays deserve some dependability in how the law applies to them in their relationships.

    As far as overall societal acceptance, that is something else.  If it happens it will happen naturally over time, not by legal dictate.  You can fight discrimination, sure, but you cannot force people to provide affirmative support for something they reject.

    Age is a good example.  It is perfectly legal for a 60-year old man to marry an 18-year old woman.  But that doesn't stop the widespread bigotry against such relationships, which cuts across gender and political beliefs.  The concept is the same - two people who love each other.  The law does not prevent it from occurring nor does the law penalize it.  But the only way to change the minds of the naysayers is by example - living out your lives as a loving couple.  And even then...you have to accept the fact that some minds may never be opened.

    "Hidden in the idea of radical openness is an allegiance to machines instead of people." - Jaron Lanier

    by FDRDemocrat on Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 01:05:28 PM PDT

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