Saturday, August 7, 2010

Orwell would understand

Adam Freedman thinks most of the discussion about the recent gay marriage decision misses the point. He explains what Perry v. Schwarzenegger was really about:
Consider the following points:
  • This is not a case about denying legal or economic benefits to gay couples. California’s domestic partnership law affords the benefits of marriage to gay couples.
  • But the plaintiffs insist that the term domestic partnership “does not have the same social and historical meaning as marriage.” This is why, according to the "findings of fact" that gay couples don't want to enter into mere domestic partnerships.
  • As the judge recounts: "To Perry [the lead plaintiff], marriage would provide access to the language to describe her relationship with Stier: 'I’m a 45-year-old woman. I have been in love with a woman for 10 years and I don’t have a word to tell anybody about that.'” (emphasis added)
That’s the key. The lawsuit has nothing to do with rights – zero. Rather, it seeks to force government to change the English language in the hope that our hearts and minds will follow. And it’s an effective strategy. If you want society to view all committed relationships as morally equivalent, then start with language. Reasonable minds can differ about whether the "social and historical" meaning of marriage should evolve in the future, but does anybody want that question decided by judges?
Judge Walker: An Orwellian View -

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