Let’s create a new aphorism: Who controls the terminology controls the debate.
A little background: the banishment of the formerly polite, neutral term, ‘negro.’ Those controlling the debate pushed the substitution of a new standard term, ‘black.’ Then followed the now universal ‘African-American’ or, on the coasts, ‘person of color.’ To refuse to be subject to this manipulation risks one’s being labelled ‘insensitive,’ which in this context means racist. And for conservatives, racism is the one accusation that cannot easily be shed. The group victimized by discrimination is putatively given the right to control terminology, though in fact control is actually wielded by the progressive forces behind the claims of discrimination. On a parallel track the term ‘discrimination’ has gone from being positive or neutral to irredeemably negative. Immediate acceptance of this kind of manipulation has developed into a near universal reflex by the media, academics, and other bien-pensants. The speed with which all this takes place rivals the change in the Communist party line after Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941. The absurdity of the changes is apparent at first – such as the claim that school teachers using the term ‘boys and girls’ create a repressive, non-inclusive gendered space, which no right-thinking person would of course ever wish to do. But after a while the absurd settles in, becomes accepted, and of a sudden is de rigueur.
The phrase ‘banning gay marriage,’ a great example of terminological manipulation, has become ubiquitous. Let’s look at each word. What changed when the neutral, accurate term, ‘homosexual,’ was abandoned for ‘gay?’ ‘Gay’ is slang originally from the homosexual community; promoting it puts a positive, happy face on what used to be considered repellent, immoral behavior. It suggests the use of the term ‘homosexual’ is insensitive, marking one as a discriminator, a heterosexist opponent of inclusivity.
‘Marriage’ as applied to homosexual couplings is something very new, going beyond ‘partner’ with some legal rights in a civil union, to ‘spouse’ with full legal and social status and acceptance. To oppose this as weakening the bedrock institution of the nuclear family, the conjugal union of a man and a woman along with their children, is insensitivity of the worst kind. To oppose it for its immorality and perversion unthinkable.
‘Banning’ is indeed discriminatory and not necessarily bad. It is usually used for prohibitions, as in the banning of air travel from West Africa to other countries or the banning of spitting on the sidewalk. The activity being banned normally was formerly permitted and now is prohibited. One would not ban things that do not exist, such as air travel on a broomstick. Homosexual marriages did not legally exist until recently. The furor is over laws and constitutional provisions stating or clarifying that for a marriage to be valid, the spouses must be a man and a woman, must be of a certain age, and must not have venereal disease or exhibit lineal consanguinity. It would make as little sense to say that there is a ban on the marriage of ten-year olds as there is a ban on the marriage of homosexuals. But phrasing the issue as a ban brings up the notion of invidious discrimination oppressive of a protected class of people. The incessant repetition of this language must in large measure be responsible for the shift in public attitudes. What has been banned – ironically – is disagreement with the ideas of the self anointed progressives.
Since there is no specific ban on the marriage of homosexual couples to be struck down, legal rulings imposing it must perforce also eventually permit other undesirable pseudo-marriages. Examples are Mormon polygamy, as well as polygamy of more than two lesbians and polyandry of more than two homosexuals. Not to speak of the marriage of groups of more than two LGBTQ and straight persons. Untold social and governmental mischief and disaster will follow.
Permit us this aside. To argue for ‘marriage equality’ is logically similar to the fallacy of affirming the consequent, since it involves assuming that there is a marriage in the first place. There are no Morganatic marriages. All marriages have always been equal qua marriages. This is just a play on the knee-jerk word ‘equality’ in an attempt to manipulate attitudes by confusion. And, please, let’s save the discussion about the infuriating use of ‘gender’ instead of ‘sex’ for another time.