A change in language
SOMETIMES the loss of a word is disappointing, but doesn’t have a widespread impact. Bob Katter just commented on the loss of the word, “gay”. I’ve had the same thoughts for decades. This was not the fault of the gay community but to people, who in those days didn’t want to use the word homosexual. A Chicago Tribune journalist lamented that he had found 126 synonyms for “gay” but none of them were a patch on the original.
On the other hand there are words, which if changed, cause a cascading effect through the whole fabric of our language. “Marriage” is one of them. It has always meant the coming together of a man and a woman. Yes today “marriage” is used in other contexts, such as “a marriage of ideas”, but even there it brings together things, which are different.
But SSM wouldn’t have much impact. Try having sexless chess. If there are two kings, when can the winner say “checkmate”? It’s even worse for two queens, where the checkmate situation never occurs. No problem! We’ll just come up with new rules.
New rules are already being assumed, which make the man and woman definition unacceptable. But the politicians say that new laws will protect people who want to retain their outdated views. Other countries such as Holland, Canada, and Great Britain, which have introduced SSM, also created new laws to protect those who practise the historic definition. Unfortunately these laws were wishy washy, are not enforced or are just ignored, and heterosexual people and institutions are being persecuted and often treated as criminals. If it is happening in those countries it will in Australia too. In fact it already is.
In Holland (the first SSM country), they had an unexpected consequence, when surveys found that there has been a drop in the number of people getting married, with the reason given being that marriage no longer means what it once did. And before long for most people, “marriage” will end up being a lost word like “gay”. The LGBTI people suggest that they have been unfairly singled out. Not so. There are many other groups who for many reasons can’t get married, including couples of different religions, social standing, race, location family pressure or other commitments. And their barriers are just as significant as those of the SS fraternity. So when considering SSM, it is an idea to stand back from the hyperbole and hand-wringing and consider what it does to one of mankind’s foundation words, a major thread in the fabric of civilisation?
And why is there such an effort to allow SSM, particularly when all couples have the same legal rights as married people? Why don’t they come up with their own word, one they can be justly proud of and uniquely identifies their relationship and avoids embarrassment?
Will there be unforeseen repercussions? Definitely, one being: “If marriage is redefined, there will be serious and significant consequences for freedom of speech in Australia”. — John Ibbotson,