Today, a California judge overturned the state’s Proposition 8, which dictates that marriage is “between a man and a woman.” Does our dictionary entry for “marriage” shed any light on the controversy?
Proponents and opponents of same-sex marriage agree that the legal battle is far from over; an appeal is inevitable and the Supreme Court could easily have the final say. The cultural division between those who believe that marriage should be reserved for heterosexual unions and those who say all people should share the same rights and privileges is perhaps even greater after today’s decision.
We present to you a large portion of our definition of “marriage” as an additional reference point for considering the phenomenon. Regardless of your opinion, may you find it informative and provocative.
1. a. the social institution under which a man and woman establish their decision to live as husband and wife by legal commitments, religious ceremonies, etc. b. a similar institution involving partners of the same gender: gay marriage.
2. the state, condition, or relationship of being married; wedlock: a happy marriage.
3. the legal or religious ceremony that formalizes the decision of two people to live as a married couple, including the accompanying social festivities: to officiate at a marriage.
4. a relationship in which two people have pledged themselves to each other in the manner of a husband and wife, without legal sanction: trial marriage.
5. any close or intimate association or union: the marriage of words and music in a hit song.
6. a formal agreement between two companies or enterprises to combine operations, resources, etc., for mutual benefit; merger.
7. a blending or matching of different elements or components: The new lipstick is a beautiful marriage of fragrance and texture.
8. Cards. a meld of the king and queen of a suit, as in pinochle. Compare royal marriage.
9. a piece of antique furniture assembled from components of two or more authentic pieces.
10. Obsolete. the formal declaration or contract by which act a man and a woman join in wedlock.
Marriage derives from the Latin maritare, “to join together. It relates to another Latin word, mas, which means “male.” Wed comes ultimately from an Indo-European root for “pledge.” Matrimony stems from the Latin roots for “the condition of motherhood.” And conjugal is a descendant of the Latin conjugare, “to join together.”
Meaning is our business; opinions are yours. How does the above information inform your perception of the issue?
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