In trying to get behind the arguments of gay marriage, I recently had a conversation with a conservative republican. 
This was her side of things:

"We don't want to deny anyone equal rights. I'm all for insurance benefits, adoption and civil unions that give couples the exact same rights as marriage. I just don't want it called marriage. That word is already taken. It's something that heterosexual couples do. Find another name for it, and I'll support it. "


There is of course more to this discussion, but I'd like to hear initial opinions and thoughts, first. 
Some of the things I brought up was that marriage was  never between one man and one woman. It started off as between one man and a few young girls, or even little children. (That's still a marriage, though, because they are straight pedophiles!) 

Anyway, how would you respond to this? What do you think?

Not that it would ever happen, but let's say the world got sucked into some alternate reality, where everyone would give universal gay rights IF they used the word 'civil union' or something other than marriage. Would you agree to it? 




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My dad takes the exact same position, and I just don't get it... what's the big deal about allowing gays to call it "marriage"? If a civil union is the same thing as marriage, just with a different name, why not call it marriage?

If I have a basketball, and I say, "This is called a basketball. I will give YOU a ball that looks the same as this object, is orange, has black lines, has bumps, is filled with air, and is used to play the SAME EXACT game... however, YOU can't call it a basketball. Mine is already called a basketball. You have to call your ball a 'foobar'." Then what is the difference? Of COURSE the other person can call it a basketball, because it's the same exact thing, I just forced him to use a different name, which is SILLY.

That's what it all boils down to: it's plain silly to demand that another group of people, who enjoy the same exact rights as you, call it something else other than "marriage". Why are you keeping the name "marriage" for yourself? If gays can have the same thing, just under a different name, then what remains about marriage that is so special? Why hold onto that label so tightly that you can't share it with others, but will allow them the IDENTICAL benefits, status, and abilities as you?

There is NO logical reason to deny gays the same label as straight people use for marriage. And if you ever get the response, "What is the big deal about using a different label?" then you can use that against them, and say, "Exactly! Then what is the big deal about sharing the existing label?"

The simple fact is this: forcing gays to call their marriage something else INSTANTLY labels it as something inferior. Gay marriage isn't GOOD enough to be called marriage, so it will have a different label instead. It's just something that conservatives cling onto in desperate hope, which gives them an edge, as well as a comfortable distance away from "the gays". They want to be distant from homosexuality as humanly possible, so somehow assigning a different label (with the same, identical details) gives them a small measure of comfort that allows them to continue to be segregated from gays.

It makes no sense. But of course you just can't expect conservative Republicans to recognize sensibility.
My whole problem with that statement is that it brings up the whole "separate but equal" issue. Which strongly reminds me of black/white segregated schools that America had at one point. It's basically saying that yeah you can have all the same rights, but you can't call it marriage because homosexuals are different and should be separated from everyone else. That just doesn't seem right to me and I don't think the government should be involved in making those distinctions between groups of people.

So in an effort to avoid the whole "separate but equal" issue I think one of two things needs to happen.

Either

a) The title marriage and all the rights and privileges it bestows to the couple are offered to both heterosexual and homosexual couples.

or

b) The government renames marriage to something else, and the marriage title would become ceremonial/religious. It would simply be up to each individual church to bestow the marriage title on its members.

That being said. There might be one way I would support such a proposition. If this "civil union" was open to anyone, regardless of sexual orientation then I might agree to it. If it was set up so that if you were straight you got "married", but if you were gay then you got a "civil union". I definitely would not agree to that for the reasons I stated above. However, if I could get a "civil union" even though I'm straight then I might agree to it. After all, it would let me get all the benefits of marriage without the religious undertones of the marriage title. But this just highlights the stupid and redundant nature of having two different titles for the same exact thing.

Finally, there is no way religious conservatives would all start supporting gay rights if it was called something different. Washington State recently passed a measure that gave gay couples pretty much all the same rights as straight couples. Except it wasn't called marriage. The slogan for the measure was even "Everything except marriage". The measure barely passed. The final count was 53% in favor and 47% opposed, and this is in one of the more liberal states. With results like that, I think I can safely say that the religious fight against gay marriage is not about defending the marriage title. It's about denying people who are different from them equal rights.
Oooh, can I guess the old meanings? Gay used to = happy, queer = odd or strange, and fag = ...a bundle of sticks? for some reason it sounds like it would mean a bundle of sticks... am I close?

Now for a relevant response.

I don't think its really about a name. I think its just another example of christians claiming superiority over other people who don't conform their beliefs. They don't want unions between two people of the same sex to be called "marriage", because they don't consider same-sex love as 'real' or valid as hetero love, so they come up with this semantic crap so they don't have to acknowledge gay love is real love. Its just pure arrogance and a superiority complex. Despite their beliefs, christianity doesn't own the idea of marriage. The idea has been around far longer than christianity has. And they don't have the right to define who can get married. "A union between one man and one woman"? Please. Thats not even true in the bible. Or have they forgotten Solomon's 700 wives?
A bundle of sticks and/or a cigarette. :D And I completely agree with you. It is a superiority complex.

Solomon loved all his wives though. Didn't you know that? (riiiight)
And don't forget about the 300 concubines.
I don't think a single court would accept the argument that, because the definition of marriage has always been man/woman, that that is the SOLE reason it should remain that way. It's a hollow argument, saying that because something always has been, it should remain that way perpetually.
Heterosexual people do not have a monopoly on the word "marriage", or any word for that matter. It's actually a really arrogant attitude. Isn't this a violation of free-speech? Do we really need to consult with whomever allegedly came up with a word in order to use it? I think we should go to the Latin people and ask them permission for the plethora of words we borrow from them. Maybe Mexicans should demand we not call a fajita a fajita since they used the word first, and fajitas were made for Mexicans. We can eat them all day long, but we can't call them fajitas. And they might have a bigger argument against us since we're trying to run them out of the country. "Fine! You don't want Mexicans over your boarders! Well then, we're taking our food with us!"

This is asinine thinking. And, like I said, a complete violation of free-speech. These people need to get over it already and stop thinking they have a right to dictate people's personal lives. What happened to their desire for smaller government? This attitude is a complete contradiction to the idea of smaller govt.
We kinda talked about this at least once before.

And I'd still stand on the same idea that the government should issue the 'Civil Union License' and then if the couple wants religion involved they can stop by the church of their choice for a ceremony and a 'Marriage Certificate.'

This hypothetically would placate and deflate most of the anti-gay-marriage crowd; and would also remove the government from the religious link of issuing marriage licenses.
This argument against gay marriage always strikes me as the swan song of a defeated opponent: once every argument is demonstrated to be absurdly impotent, the opponent is left with only this superficial semantic attachment. While I think that this attachment is equally absurd as any other anti-gay nonsense, I think that it is irrelevant. What really matters is assuring that all gay and lesbian couples have access to the full realm of legal benefits afforded to straight couples.

My favorite memory of this argument is from an ethics class that I took last year. While debating the issue of gay marriage, one fine young Christian man insisted that the word "marriage" is defined by the Bible and therefore cannot be applied to homosexual unions. I countered with the fact that we have records of marriages which predated the Bible by, at a bare minimum, several millennia. The clever Christian responded, "Oh yeah? What Bible have you been reading? Because mine says, 'In the BEGINNING...'"

I stared at him in stunned silence. Unfortunately, I am afraid that he and the rest of the class mistook my shock as a debate triumph on his part. That day I learned a valuable lesson: a fruitful debate really does require a minimum level of intelligence from all participants.

Make "marriage" a strictly religious ceremony that has no legal basis and institute a separate civil ceremony conducted by the state in order to legally unite couples. Then churches could allow or disallow gay marriages--which is fully within their rights--but gay people would never be denied the legal benefits of formally uniting with another adult.

(Or maybe not two separate ceremonies; maybe I really just mean the issuing of licenses and official documents. After all, it's not the ceremony nor the officiant which matters so much as the resultant piece of paper.)
I honestly could care less about the gay rights issue, I am behind it as much as I would be behind anyone seeking equal rights. I do not care about the name of the ceremony joining them as a couple, marriage or otherwise.

The argument of "What's in a name" goes both ways, conservatives want marriage to themselves and many gays are simply not happy with civil union. Either way if everything is equal the name matters not.
If that's an arguement, then women who practice sports shouldn't be called athletes and men who sing shouldn't be called vocalists. And Australians who drive shouldn't be called drivers. That's not to say those people shouldn't be permitted to do those things, they just shouldn't be identified by those linguistic terms.
I'm sorta likening this to the "ritual knick" argument going on about female circumcision.
I mean, I think it's horrible that any culture feels the need to SCAR their women before they think they are acceptable for marriage, but if I had to make the choice, I'd rather be accepted by society and still retain my ability to orgasm as opposed to um....not.
Baby steps, maybe. Once we save women from circumcision, we can start working on the ills of a society that thinks it's necessary. For every knick made, there is a woman with still functioning sex organs. It might not fix the problem, but it IS helping individual lives.
I'm not from a culture that thinks they need to take a knife to me for me to be marriageable.
I'm also not from a culture that despises me for loving my own gender.
I can't say at what point it's ok to compromise, but I do think that we should take small victories as a progression as we keep marching towards full equality.
In fact, don't call it compromise.
Call it biding our time.

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