Merriam-Webster's dictionary makes gay marriage official(er)

3.18.2009

By Noah Michelson


The new version of the Merriam-Webster dictionary features an entry listing marriage as both "the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife..." and "the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of traditional marriage." While perhaps it's not as forward thinking as just writing "the state of one person being united to another person..." it is a huge step in the right direction.

Don't think our crazy right-wing friends aren't already up in arms about this. Conservative site WorldNetDaily.com asserts that the 1913 version of the dictionary "not only didn't mention same-sex 'marriage,' it supplemented its definition of traditional marriage with references from the Bible." Charming, we're sure, but in 1913 African Americans also couldn't go to the same schools as whites and women couldn't vote.

While a spokesperson for Mirriam-Webster (smartly) refused to talk to the folks at WND, one of WND's readers managed to score a few comments from associate editor Kerry Stamper who wrote:

"We often hear from people who believe that we are promoting -- or
perhaps failing to promote -- a particular social or political agenda
when we make choices about what words to include in the dictionary
and how those words should be defined.

We hear such criticism from
all parts of the political spectrum. We're genuinely sorry when an
entry in -- or an omission from -- one of our dictionaries is found to be
offensive or upsetting, but we can't allow such considerations to
deflect us from our primary job as lexicographers."

In other words, if you're not going to be a part of progress (and ensuring equality) -- get out the frickin' way.

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Tags: Popnography
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