Yeah, this is another gay marriage post. I’ll keep writing them until equality is taken for granted, and then I’ll probably still keep writing them to remind people that it wasn’t always so.
In my internet wanderings this morning I stumbled over this post titled Ten reasons not to legalise same-sex marriage in Britain and was struck by how often the author, Peter Saunders, refers to “redefining” marriage. I’ll address his ten points in a bit, but I think the definition thing is more important so I’m going to talk about this first.
Imagine, if you will, a local sports league, let’s say baseball, that’s been men-only since it was founded years ago. If it changes the rules allowing women to play, is it redefining baseball? If the couples-only three-legged race at the state fair declares that same-sex couples are welcome to participate, does this redefine three-legged races? When the schools were desegregated in the American South, did that redefine education? When women were given the right to vote, did that redefine democracy?
Is it really such a dramatic change to a social institution to welcome those who were previously excluded?
We say “same-sex marriage” or “gay marriage”, but when you get down to it we’re just talking about marriage. The distinction between “a man and a women” and “two people” is trivial. We’re not talking about changing how people do things or what rights and responsibilities they have within a marriage contract, we’re literally talking about being a little more inclusive and nothing else.
In fairness, Saunders is British and talking about Britain, there may be other aspects to the British perspective that I’m not aware of. But I kind of doubt it, because his list of ten things contains nothing that I haven’t already seen in arguments here in the United States. I’ll take a look at that list in my next post.