Monday, March 23, 2009

Even the Dictionaries Have Caved In

According to the Religious News Service blog, Merriam-Webster, the trusted dictionary for most of my life, has caved in to the cultural pressure of defining our language in such a way as to placate practitioners of alternate lifestyle relationships.....

Redefining Marriage

Marriage has officially been least, according to the updated version of Merriam-Webster's dictionary.

The AP reports: In its Web and print editions, Merriam-Webster defines marriage as "the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law."

But in a nod to evolving ideas of love and English usage, the Springfield, Mass.-based company in 2003 added a secondary meaning for "marriage" as "the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage."

"World Net Daily was apparently first to write about the change ... six years after the fact.

In a statement M-W said that was actually one of the last dictionaries to include same-sex relationships in its marriage definition. It did so because the term has become part of the general lexicon, according to the AP.

I would like to know how one defines "becoming part of the general lexicon." Just how many people have to use a word in a way that deviates from its historic use before it is acknowledged as part of "general" usage? The total number of GLBT (Gay Lesbian Bi-sexual) people in this country amounts to 1.51% of the population. It seems to me that the GLBT population (a small minority at that) is the predominant driving force behind the push for "gay marriage," and the desire to redefine this institution to include same-sex couples. "Civil unions," a term used legally and more extensively (historically speaking), would be a term that qualifies more for the "general lexicon" than would "gay marriage."

The only justification for "general" usage is the fact that it repeatedly appears in newscast and newspapers on a regular basis. But is that reason enough to change the dictionary?

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