One of my current hobby-horses. The media (and even the LGBT media) keep referring to equal marriage as “gay marriage” or “same-sex marriage”.
Why is this inappropriate?
Well, for a start, “gay marriage” as a term blithely ignores bisexuality. After all, if two people of the same sex wish to marry, neither of them is necessarily gay – they may be a gay-bi couple, or a bi-bi couple. Underlying this omission is, I suspect, the unconscious assumption many people have that bisexual people don’t commit, so why would they be thinking of marriage? So if a same-sex couple wants to marry, they “must” be gay. And for that matter, the media keeps talking about “straight couples” when they just mean opposite-sex couples – who may be bi-hetero or bi-bi.
But taking this further, even “same-sex marriage” as a term is flawed, since it assumes binary gender, and ignores both intersex people and those who identify as genderqueer in one way or another (as does “traditional marriage”, of course).
So let’s leave gender and sexuality out of the terminology-mix entirely, it’s not needed there. To me, the premise of Equal Marriage is really, really simple (or should be): if it’s legal for people to be in a relationship, then it should be legal for them to marry, if they want to formalise their commitment that way.
And there’s absolutely no reason why a marriage has to be between only two people, either. There are plenty of polyamorous relationships that are more stable and committed and happy than many monogamous couple marriages (many of which aren’t great PR for monogamy, let’s face it). I don’t know why so many people are so afraid of polyamory. Why not let polyamorous threes, fours and up commit formally if they want to?
Thus endeth the rant…