Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Terminology Update

The whole same-sex marriage issue has heated up to the point where few can address it without their faces turning red and steam spewing from their ears. But let's agree on a basic point:

"Gay marriage" is a stupid thing to call it. Gay people can get married now. Just not to other gay people of the same gender. Thus, "same-sex marriage" can be used as an alternative.

The National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association does not agree with either of the terms. (Full disclosure: I am a member, although I haven't sent in my dues for this year, so perhaps I'm not.) Their point:

"The terms 'gay marriage' and 'same-sex marriage' are inaccurate and misleading. The decision made by the Massachusetts court affects the state’s existing marriage law. The court has ordered the state to apply the existing law equally to gay and lesbian couples as early as May 2004. The accurate terminology on-air, in headlines and in body type should be 'marriage for gays and lesbians.' "

I understand the NLGJA's point. Their preferred alternative takes up a lot of space, though. Many media organizations seem to have settled on "same-sex marriage" as preferred terminology, with "gay marriage" being used for tight headline counts.

I have a lot more to write about on this topic in general. So keep watching.