Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Modern anniversary of gay marriage

with 9 comments

The institution of gay marriage in modern times—in the modern state—dates back 10 years: the first gay marriages were in the Netherlands.

This reminiscence of the struggle—and the usual dire predictions of the calamities that would follow if two people in love were allowed to marry and they were the same sex—is a good read. I do not understand the reference to the 10th anniversary being the “diamond” anniversary. Have we had anniversary hyper-inflation? As I recall, it takes 50 years just to reach the golden anniversary, and 25 more to get to the diamond. I suppose it’s the result of a modern tendency to want right now things that take time. Such impatience strikes me as unseemly, grasping, and dull. YMMV.

Written by LeisureGuy

17 April 2011 at 8:58 am

Posted in Daily life, Government, Law

9 Responses

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  1. I fiercely need a new WORD for the union of two same-sex people that is not the word marriage. I am too old to have to add a new meaning to a word with the definition of the matrimonial alliance of one man and one woman. Esperanto please!

    Maria Luisa

    18 April 2011 at 11:21 am

  2. Interesting idea. In fact, once we start parsing the institution, a flock of new words is needed:

    a marriage that has no children
    a marriage that has children from one spouse but not the other
    a marriage that has children from both spouses
    a May-December marriage
    a loveless marriage
    a marriage that was never consummated
    a wartime marriage
    a marriage made in haste (pregnant bride)
    and so on.

    edz- = husband
    edz(in)iĝi = to marry (i.e., to become (-iĝ-) a husband (edziĝi) or a wife (edziniĝi). The word for “husband” is edzo, for “wife” edzino. The ending “o” signifies a noun, the suffix -in indicates female.

    One could also use geedziĝi: the prefix ge- signifies that both sexes are involved.

    That suggests edziĝi for two men marrying, edziniĝi for two women marrying, and geedziĝi in the event the two are of different sexes.

    Of course, this doesn’t even touch the surface: polygamous marriages, completely valid in some religions and cultures, probably deserve a word as well. And polyandrous marriages, though not so common, need a word.

    In fact, marriage has always been a flexible word that has been used for many different situations and personnel. It has traditionally been used when two people are deeply in love and want to publicly commit that they will live their lives together in mutual support, but (as noted above) that meaning doesn’t even apply to all heterosexual unions, but does apply to the majority (and the majority of homosexual unions as well, I imagine).

    But you’ve buried the lede. I had no idea that after a certain age one cannot learn new meanings for words. And here am I, a post-ripe 71, still learning new meanings. Perhaps you are selling yourself short.


    18 April 2011 at 12:06 pm

  3. On the flexibility of meanings: I frequently hear ‘marriage’ used in all sorts of contexts—e.g., “this can-opener is a splendid marriage of convenience and versatility”—and it seems to work well. If we can talk about the marriage of convenience and flexibility and the like, why not about a marriage (in the true spirit of the institution) between two men or two women as well as between opposite sexes?


    18 April 2011 at 12:18 pm

  4. You are correct…the marriage of oil and vinegar for this salad was excellent. But dear Miguel, we know el aceite es mujer y el vinagre es hombre!!!! (not in gender, but in good fun!)

    Now, the civil union of these two ingredients confers the same state of delicious combining….the vinegar can visit the oil in the hospital and have powers to unplug the suffering oil…get tax benefits…legal status for everything..but doesn’t mess with my old head.

    Or dear Miguel, find me a NEW word in English where the equivalent of “marriage” shall be between one man, and one woman, (and maybe an apple!!!)

    When you hear “a childless marriage”, as you well pointed out, does YOUR brain immediately include two men or two women??? Just wondering (and not doing my Easter decorations for the children!)

    Maria Luisa

    18 April 2011 at 3:06 pm

  5. Well, the “no children” situation was included because some say that a homosexual marriage is not really a marriage because the two cannot together produce a child—but that makes no sense at all, because we continue to refer to childless heterosexual unions as “marriage”. I do know of several homosexual unions with children—the males adopt, and the females adopt or one of the two bears a child. Sometimes, of course, either or both have children from a previous marriage.

    I don’t really see the problem is using “marriage” to denote any legally recognized love-based union between two people, once that union is legally recognized. A marriage is not necessarily religious, obviously. (The Wife and I were not married in a religious ceremony, but we are very much married.)

    Things change, including social institutions. Words change their meanings to embrace new situations. This goes on more or less constantly, which is why I love etymological dictionaries. Seems to me “marriage” works well for the new situation, and if more details are needed or desired, one can readily say “heterosexual marriage” or “gay marriage”.

    “Traditional marriage” doesn’t work as the standard description of a heterosexual marriage, because that can be taken to mean all sorts of things: submissive wife, dominant husband; husband works, wife stays at home; etc.

    The fact is, with working moms and stay-at-home dads, divorce and remarriage common, and now gays and lesbians able (at last) to marry, the word “marriage” has inevitably had to expand to cover all those instances of two people joining together (for life, they hope) in a legally recognized union. Why not call it marriage and recognize that the world and society continue to change, and our vocabulary changes along with it.


    18 April 2011 at 3:29 pm

  6. Aha! I was so close. The phrase we want is “nontraditional marriage”: any marriage other than those in which the husband is dominant, the wife submissive, the husband works, the wife stays home. That, of course, encompasses a great variety—indeed, the “traditional marriage” is, I believe, now solidly in the minority.


    18 April 2011 at 3:58 pm

  7. Ay, querido amigo, debo “blogar” mi respuesta del corazon, que es sencillamente: “nope”.

    In this case, no estoy de acuerdo…nor were it my own son or daughter could I pronounce the “M” word for their gay-transgendered-lesbian-plural, or other non-traditional union.

    And I must vigorously disagree with you that matrimony has anything to do with preordained dominance or submissiveness for either sex. If they are “married”, she can wear the pants, and he can be a “yes dear” husband…ellos son marido y mujer. Por los siglos de los siglos, amen!!!

    My coupled lesbian friends say partners, not wife and wife, or mom1 and mom2. You?

    I would be supportive, enthusiastic, loving, and respectful of my chickadees’ decisions, but NOT linguistically in agreement on this one! HOWEVER, I respect their right (derecho!) to disagree with ME!!

    And let’s not even poll my tomcats Snowball and Jackson…oh wait, they’re “fixed”…as are Maggie, Tillie, Olivia, and Gracie…and I could have had such precious grandcats!

    Maria Luisa

    18 April 2011 at 6:07 pm

  8. Oh, and I cannot, will not, qualify my marriage by calling it heterosexual. Hi, here’s Alfred, my hetero spouse.

    Spouse….(in Spanish “esposa” can also mean handcuffs!!)

    Maria Luisa

    18 April 2011 at 6:14 pm

  9. casados (married) =”housed up” (from casa obviously)…why do we say in English “shacked up”???? Just wondering…

    (My mother, the English professor, would be scandalized by the “…” of blogs and texts. I almost feel guilty about using the “new” punctuation!

    Maria Luisa

    18 April 2011 at 6:18 pm

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