marriage equality

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Aug 10 03:14:31 UTC 2009

At 10:27 PM -0400 8/9/09, Steve Kleinedler wrote:
>Arnold: Thank you for your mention of this. And to those of you who saw me
>(or rather, didn't see that much of me) at DSNA this year, and wondered
>why I was kind of in the shadows for most of the conference, it was just
>two months after Peter's death and I was basically just staying out of the
>In January, the final mark-up for the 2009 copyright update of the AHD
>(now available, and the edits for it have been incorporated in the AHD
>entries at was submitted. In the final batch of edits
>included the word "widower," which we now define as "A man whose spouse
>has died and who has not remarried."
>( - 2nd entry down.
>Joe and I edited that entry less than 2 months before the word became
>applicable to me, and with each update to our other titles, marking up the
>W page with that edit becomes, frankly becomes a surreal task for me.

Surreal indeed.  Hard to imagine what that was like for you.  As to:

>Incidentally, we handled the 'marriage' revision for sense 1a as "The
>legal union of a man and woman as husband and wife, and in some
>jurisdictions, between two persons of the same sex, usually entailing
>legal obligations of each person to the other." -- which is unassailably
>true. (
>-- Steve

--looks like I won't have the old definition 1a to kick around in my
Language, Sex & Gender class anymore.  (Well, there's always that
antique OED entry for "love" (n.), at least while it lasts.)  But for
the troglodytes on marriage, they'll always (well, hopefully not
always) have Random House (2009), as indicated by that same site:

1.      the social institution under which a man and woman establish
their decision to live as husband and wife by legal commitments,
religious ceremonies, etc.
2.      the state, condition, or relationship of being married;
wedlock: a happy marriage.
3.      the legal or religious ceremony that formalizes the decision
of a man and woman to live as husband and wife, including the
accompanying social festivities: to officiate at a marriage.
4.      a relationship in which two people have pledged themselves to
each other in the manner of a husband and wife, without legal
sanction: trial marriage; homosexual marriage.

etc.  So same-sex (excuse me, "homosexual") marriage is by definition
at most "in the manner of" a real marriage.


>>  the latest Gay & Lesbian Review (July-August) has a guest opinion
>>  piece (p. 4) by lexicographer Steve [Steven R.] Kleinedler, "Five
>>  Years Later, Marriage Equality Has Settled In", about the death of his
>>  husband, Peter Dubuque, and some of the events that followed. from
>>  Steve's piece:
>>     Just how far marriage equality has become a regular component of
>>  society here [in Massachusetts] has been made clear to me while
>>  interacting with people I didn't know. In decades past, authority
>>  figures were often adversarial to the queer community. Now, in 2009,
>>  the EMTs, police officers, and detectives on the accident scene were
>>  extremely professional, respectful, and courteous.
>>     Referring to Peter as my husband doesn't raise eyebrows or result
>>  in scorn or sarcasm, whereas referring to him as my partner ten or
>>  fifteen years ago carried the risk of bad service, indifference, or
>>  outright hostility.
>>  .....
>>  Steve's piece is adapted from an essay ("In Massachusetts, a husband's
>>  death shows how important marriage is -- and how absolutely ordinary
>>  and accepted same-sex marriage has become" by Joe Sudbay) that
>>  appeared on AMERICAblog on April 23:
>>  ------------------------------------------------------------
>>  The American Dialect Society -
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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