Monday, March 30, 2009

GSA Monday Topic: How Do YOU Define "Marriage?" Check out this new Merriam-Webster Definition!

Okay, so there's been all this talk and fighting and propositions and laws and lawsuits and constitutional amendments about "Marriage," and "re-defining Marriage."

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):

mar·riage           Listen to the pronunciation of marriage
\ˈmer-ij, ˈma-rij\
Middle English mariage, from Anglo-French, from marier to marry
14th century
1 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 audio (mrj) KEY

    1. The legal union of a man and woman as husband and wife.
    2. The state of being married; wedlock.
    3. A common-law marriage.
    4. 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!


Sarah Laurenson said...

I know how my wife and I defined it, since we got married almost as soon as it was legal. And now we wait to see if it's still legal. We should know right before our first anniversary.

Yay for Vermont and Iowa (why all these cold states) and now D.C. is looking at recognizing marriages performed elsewhere. Their vote was unanimous, too.

It's a matter of time, but the process is more painful than I expected.

MissBates said...

Marriage is defined by love, and a mutual commitment, not by sex, age, religion or any other criteria. It's a union, love has no color, no gender, and it has no restrictions, marriage shouldn't either.
I define marriage as a bond, a committed union, a husband is a man you have given your heart to, the only man you want to grow old with.
A wife is a woman you want to hold hands with even when her hands are veiny, wrinkled and spotted with age.