This whole gay marriage debate is really maddening to me, especially considering there are other, much more complex and ominous matters our country desperately needs to address, like what’s the socially acceptable level of racial stereotyping when making fun of a posturing North Korea? We really could use some guidance on this issue.
The emotional and highly partisan dispute about same-sex marriage is even more exasperating to me since I’ve come up with what is (in my humble opinion) the perfect and most eloquent solution that satisfies the demands of both sides.
Simply put, I propose creating a new word that means exactly the same thing as “marriage,” and use it in reference to same-sex couples.
Saying civil unions are just as good as marriage is more disingenuous than asserting sex with a condom is just as enjoyable as it is without one.
That way, gay couples can enjoy all the rights and benefits that heterosexual married couples have always had, all while effectively silencing the religious right’s argument that gays and lesbians are destroying the institution of “marriage.” After all, how could two men or two women undermine the foundation of “marriage” if they aren’t actually getting “married”?
Now let’s be clear – I’m not referring to civil unions, which are NOT equivalent to marriage. I’m talking about same-sex partners having 100% of the same rights that legally married spouses have. Saying civil unions are just as good as marriage is more disingenuous than asserting sex with a condom is just as enjoyable as it is without one.
In fact, if you try to tell me that gay couples who wish to get married should settle for a civil union because they’re just as good, I’ll tell you to go f–k yourself … with a condom, so it’ll be that much less enjoyable.
No, what I’m talking about is simply calling the exact same institution by another name. A word like “parriage” could be to “marriage” what “cosmonaut” is to “astronaut,” or what “typhoon,” “cyclone” and “hurricane” are to each other (i.e., THE EXACT SAME GODDAM THING).
What’s the difference between a cosmonaut and an astronaut? They both get shot into space and orbit the earth, but one comes from what used to be America’s archnemesis while the other comes from anywhere else on the planet.
And what differentiates a typhoon from a cyclone from a hurricane? They are all the exact same destructive meteorological phenomenon, but one forms in the Western Pacific Ocean, one forms in either the Indian or South Pacific Ocean, and the other forms either in the Western Atlantic or Eastern Pacific Ocean.
Plus, there’s one other minor distinction. Since they usually hit Asia, the eyes of typhoons typically are not as round as those of hurricanes. (See what I mean about needing some guidelines on making fun of North Korea?)
Besides, it’s not like we don’t have a precedent for creating new words for things we already have perfectly good terms for. I mean, if “YOLO” (Generation Y-speak for “You Only Live Once”) can become a tragic part of our lexicon when “carpe diem” has literally been around for thousands of years, why can’t we create a word like “parriage”?
Archaeologists will discover references to the term “YOLO” amid our ruins and accurately surmise the American empire perished because we became a bunch of blithering morons.
Side note: Centuries from now, archaeologists will discover references to the term “YOLO” amid our ruins and accurately surmise the American empire perished because we became a bunch of blithering morons.
The bottom line is that I want my gay friends to have the same rights that my wife and I have had for over 20 years. Hell, I want them to have all the privileges Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries had for a whole 82 days.
At the same time, though, I also have socially conservative friends who are totally hung up on gays getting married, claiming it will somehow diminish the institution of marriage and ultimately destroy America. I, on the other hand, maintain that our nation’s demise won’t be caused by gay marriage, but rather by insipid stupidity, as exhibited by the promulgation of idiotic terms like YOLO.
Of course, I may change my settings to ignore their annoying posts, but I don’t defriend, block, and/or completely sever ties with someone just because we have an honest difference of opinion. That’s called being an “insecure f–kwad.”
As I mentioned, it doesn’t matter if the Supreme Court strikes down California’s Proposition 8 and/or the Defense of Marriage Act. It also won’t make one iota of difference if dictionaries suddenly alter the definition of the word marriage to include same-sex partnerships, as linguist Geoff Nunberg recently discussed on NPR’s Fresh Air.
None of those actions will keep people who oppose same-sex marriage from bitching and moaning about it on my Facebook feed. Nor will it stop them from trying to overturn or block legalized gay marriage as vigorously as many of these same people have been trying to overturn and/or effectively outlaw legalized abortions for the past 40 years.
How many people do you know who refer to playing slots, cards, or craps at ANY casino as “gaming”? Yeah, me neither.
Still don’t think using an alternate word for the exact same thing is the ideal way to get what you’re fighting for while simultaneously neutering your opponents’ ability to counteract? Tell that to the gambling – er, I mean gaming – industry here in Louisiana.
Allow me to explain.
State legislators back in the early ’90s wanted to bring video poker and riverboat casinos to the state, but standing in their way was a pretty big hurdle – the Louisiana state constitution. It said (and still says), “Gambling shall be defined by and suppressed by the legislature.”
Now, they could have tried removing that obstruction by introducing a constitutional amendment, which would have required a 2/3 margin in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, and subsequent approval by a majority of statewide voters.
But that’s really hard, so they devised an ingenious workaround. They legalized video poker, 15 riverboat casinos, and one land-based casino all by simply referring to activities related to these industries as “gaming.” Later, when the laws were challenged in court, the state Supreme Court ruled these new laws did not violate the state constitution because it forbids “gambling,” not “gaming.”
Yet, how many people do you know who refer to playing slots, cards, or craps at ANY casino as “gaming”? Yeah, me neither.
In fact, about the only place you hear or see the word “gaming” used in lieu of “gambling” is in relation to industry regulation, as in the Louisiana Gaming Control Board. However, if you chronically lose lots of money at a casino, you might want to call the gambling hotline.
Hell, I’ve seen billboards for Louisiana casinos that claim “Best gambling in town!” despite the fact that “gambling” is still technically unconstitutional in this state. This tells me that eventually, even if we initially use an alternate term for gay marriage, most (if not all) people eventually will use plain ol’ “married” for both straight and gay spouses.
In other words, gays and lesbians could finally get married by calling it something else, religious folks would still have “marriage” all to their heterosexual selves, and down the road – once these people realize that the institution is unharmed by two men or two women partnering up – they’ll finally relent: “F–k it. They can have the word, too.”
Even though Louisiana’s constitution defines “marriage” as between one woman and one man, it doesn’t say jack sh-t about “parriage.”
It also illustrates that even though Louisiana’s constitution defines “marriage” as between one woman and one man, it doesn’t say jack sh-t about “parriage,” or whatever other term you want to pull out of your ass. (No offense to my gay friends with that choice of words.)
Likewise, I also don’t mean to offend my gay friends by diminishing their plight. I know some of them may see such a workaround as reducing their fight for social acceptance to nothing more than a battle of semantics. The fact is, conservatives like Rush Limbaugh have already done that. As Nunberg noted, Limbaugh recently stated “By definition – solely, by definition – same-sex people cannot be married.”
Bill Shakespeare once wrote, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.” Similarly, that which we call marriage, by any other name would still be as sexless.