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The Marriage Newspeak

Jeff Jacoby

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Back in 2003, a few days after the highest court in Massachusetts unveiled a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, I ventured a prediction.

''Sooner than you think, it will become improper to speak of unique sex roles in family life," I wrote. ''The meanings and status associated with words like 'husband' and 'wife' will be erased from the law; most likely, the words themselves will be replaced in statutes with the unisex 'spouse,' just as 'father' and 'mother' will give way to 'parent.' "

The changes soon began. Massachusetts rolled out a new marriage license shorn of any reference to bride and groom. Couples getting married were now to be officially identified as ''Party A" and ''Party B." The department of public health proposed a similar rewrite of the state's birth certificate, replacing ''mother" and ''father" with ''Parent A" and ''Parent B." To that, Governor Mitt Romney objected, though it is probably only a matter of time until a court orders him to make the change.

Meanwhile, others have gone far beyond Massachusetts in embracing the brave new world of unisex marriage. Last month, lawmakers in Ontario enacted Bill 171, stripping the statute books of all references to gender in connection with marriage. No longer do Ontario's laws use words and phrases like ''husband," ''wife," ''widow," ''widower," or ''persons of the opposite sex." And it is not just family and marriage laws that have been de-sexed. Bill 171 eliminates the traditional language of matrimony from more than 70 provincial statutes, including the Gasoline Tax Act and the Public Libraries Act.

What is underway here is not simply a tweaking of legal terminology. The crusade for same-sex marriage has never been aimed merely at adjusting the familiar boundaries of married life to make it more inclusive. The real target is the significance of marriage itself -- the idea, fundamental to human happiness and all successful societies, that the purpose of marriage is to bring men and women together for their mutual welfare and for the protection and well-being of any children they create or adopt. It is that deeply ingrained belief that the marriage radicals are determined to do away with. One purpose of the official marriage Newspeak is to make such thoughts increasingly unthinkable.

Read the entire article on the Townhall website (new window will open).

Posted: 15-Mar-05



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