This is as close as my rather dog-eared "Webster's new Twentieth Century Dictionary, Second Edition, Copyright 1979" got to including me and my husband in the definition of "Marriage."
Well, amusingly enough, one major dictionary, Merriam-Webster, changed their definition of "marriage" back in 2003 - and no one noticed until recently!!!
Here it is (you can link to it here):
- \ˈmer-ij, ˈma-rij\
- Middle English mariage, from Anglo-French, from marier to marry
- 14th century1 a (1): the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law (2): the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage
marriage>b: the mutual relation of married persons : wedlock c: the institution whereby individuals are joined in a marriage2: an act of marrying or the rite by which the married status is effected ; especially : the wedding ceremony and attendant festivities or formalities3: an intimate or close union marriage of painting and poetry — J. T. Shawcross>
The Houghton Mifflin dictionary (Yahoo's choice, here) defines it as:
mar·riage (mrj) KEY
- The legal union of a man and woman as husband and wife.
- The state of being married; wedlock.
- A common-law marriage.
- A union between two persons having the customary but usually not the legal force of marriage: a same-sex marriage.
I'm happy to be included - a little disappointed that both dictionaries went with "same-sex" rather than "same-gender" but still, it's progress.
It does raise the rather wonderful question: How would YOU define "marriage?"
Would your definition include gender? religion? civil recognition?
What does marriage mean to you?
Try writing it out. And feel free to share your definition here, in comments!