Wednesday, August 04, 2004
A linguistic problem
From the headlines, you would think Missouri had passed some sort of blatant anti-homosexual hate bill. That state's recent piece of legislation has been trumpeted in the media as a 'Gay Marriage Ban' (Boston Herald
, San Jose Mercury News
, USA Today
, the Kansas City Star
, the Washington Post
, etc.). A search
for 'Marriage Amendment' only turned up a couple headlines for 'GAY Marriage Amendment' (Miami Herald
, Kansas City Star
, etc.). My amateur searching revealed only one major news outlet, the Washington Times
, which used the simple nomenclature 'Marriage Amendment' without using the token 'Gay' in the headline.
From the headlines, then, you wouldn't know that neither the word 'Gay' nor any of its synonyms even appears in the legislation. The wording simply states, "Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended so that to be valid and recognized in this state, a marriage shall exist only between a man and a woman?" Of course, it goes without saying that the intent of the law is to 'ban' gay marriage, but it seems nonetheless a bit ingenuous to simply label it a 'gay marriage ban,' a narrowing of the field of vision, if you will. It's sort of like reporting on a bill which defines the term 'pet' as 'a domesticized animal,' and dubbing it a 'Pet Rock Ban.'
# posted by Jamie : 8:08 AM