Hey, It’s Only A Word

Foolishly, mulishly
Internet Solomons
Contemplate cutting the
Baby in half

Thinking the problem is
Offer solutions that
Just make me laugh

One thing about the same-sex marriage cases in the news–it sure makes online news comment threads a target-rich environment. In three different locations, by multiple commenters on each, one comment was quite common: “Ok, give gays the same rights, but just call it something else!”. Oddly enough (unless there is an organized campaign somewhere I am unaware of), in all three locations, the commenters thought themselves mighty clever to come up with “garriage” as their alternative.

So, yeah–if it’s only a word, it’s only a word. I suggest telling those commenters that it is an acceptable solution, and they can start calling opposite-sex marriages “garriages” any time they want.

What’s that? It’s unacceptable? I thought it was “only a word”.

If a word is important, it’s important to both parties, and separate but equal will be inherently unequal. If the word itself isn’t important, then there’s no problem there to be solved, and no reason to use two words.


  1. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    and separate but equal will be inherently unequal.

    There a case down in Florida about four years ago involving an accident, a woman dying in a hospital, an her civil union partner was denied visitation. On my old, totally defunct and nonfunctioning blog, I have a perfect example of why using any word but marriage will create opportunities for bigots to be bigots.

  2. Randomfactor says

    I’ve called this the “cut the cake” solution. Any parent can identify.

    Sure, one kid cuts the cake into two “even” pieces. The other one gets to choose which one he wants.

  3. Joan says

    On a St. Louis ‘call i’n’ talk show, one of the local unenlightened who was very protective of the sacred ‘name of marriage suggested instead that gay marriage be called a ‘coupling ceremony’. Unless he was being snarky, and I don’t believe he was, I very much doubt if he he knew the meaning of the word.

  4. Eristae says


    Why in the everloving hell did I read this as “giraffes?” They don’t even have the same letters!

  5. left0ver1under says

    Joan (#5)

    Unless he was being snarky, and I don’t believe he was, I very much doubt if he he knew the meaning of the word.

    The teabaggers didn’t know the meaning of that word either when they started using it.

    Education and literacy aren’t their strong suits.

  6. elspeth says

    I bow my head in great respect, having not seen a double dactyl for just AGES. Well done, as usual!

    I would actually prefer a different name — civil union, domestic partnership, domestic union, civil partnership, they all work for me. But on a truly equal basis, i.e. regardless of how many genders are represented in the union. It DOES muddy the waters, to me, that we use the same word for the union the state recognizes and the union this or that church recognizes. I’m aware that we’ll end up using the same word here in real life and that’s going to be “married,” but every time some wingnut goes on about “the sanctity of marriage” it makes me want to have a different label. I don’t want the sanctified kind — please pass the Domestic Partnership.

  7. The Ridger says

    Absolutely let them have their “marriages” – and make those rites utterly non-binding in law. Call what the preacher does “holy matrimony” and stop letting people skip the civil ceremony that makes it legal. Everybody has to go to city hall or the equivalent, and afterwards if they want to go to church, that’s fine. Or just go to church and (like gays whose “unions” are “solemnized” by Episcopal priests now) they can live married in god’s eyes but not the state’s.

    (This commenting system just gets weirder and more unwieldy. Who the hell is this “sc_bc4d5f206b44357922944b6fbadfa53e” I’m allegedly logged in as?)

  8. dvizard says

    The probably most concise and coherent opinion on the subject I read up to now (don’t remember the source):

    * If “marriage” is something religious and religions get to make up rules about it, then the state has no business to do with “marriage” altogether. No civil marriages, and civil unions for everyone.

    * If on the other hand, marriage is to be something governed by the state, there is no motive to discriminate against anyone and marriage is for everyone.

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