Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Conversations with Calliope- The Word Marriage

(Wedding on the Veranda)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. You had more to say about marriage?
JOE: I did. It seems to me that the word itself is confusing the debate about who should be allowed to use the word "married."
JOE: Most people don't object to other than heterosexual couples having civil unions. They just object to calling it marriage.
CALLIOPE: I see. Civilly, Marriage refers to a legal union regardless of whether there is a religious ceremony.
JOE: Right. It also refers to a religious ceremony, regardless of whether it is legalized with the government.
CALLIOPE: So you can be married in the eyes of the government alone, a church alone or both.
JOE: Right. I think it's too much work for one word to do.
CALLIOPE: What would you call it then?
JOE: Good question. Reserving the word for people in one set of circumstances is likely to alienate everyone else. Maybe we need several words to make everyone's situation clear.
CALLIOPE: Is anybody even discussing this possibility?
JOE: Not that I know of. That's why I brought it up.
CALLIOPE: Do you think anyone else is interested in the issue?
JOE: Perhaps William Safire would be. I'll ask him. I'm not sure anyone else has the emotional energy to enter into such a debate. We shall see. Talk with you tomorrow.

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