LETTER TO THE EDITOR: ‘Marriage’ is a word that’s already taken

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Should Congress make English the official language of the U.S.?

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There is no way any law can do away with homosexual relations. At the same time, it’s not proper to name such a relationship a “marriage” (“Obama administration under fire in gay-marriage arguments,” Web, Wednesday).

I have no objection to such homosexual relationships; I have had close homosexual friends. I’ve had a goodly number of them in my class and on my staff when I ran an architectural practice and taught. And I had a goodly number of classmates in architecture and the fine arts when I was a student. Absolutely no problem ever erupted in those situations. The only thing that has ever shocked me about homosexuality was a photo of former Rep. Barney Frank, Massachusetts Democrat, with another man identified as his “husband.” Husband? Does that mean that Mr. Frank is that guy’s “wife?” But that lit up a thought: The entire problem in affording homosexual relationships all the rights that are afforded normal marriages lies with a word. The solution is to not blemish the definition of the word marriage by allowing it to define the relationship of two people of the same sex. That is not what it means. Find a new title for same-sex unions. I do not know what word exists or can be concocted to define the relationship of two people of the same sex and give them all the rights that go with the present noun “marriage,” but get some word-craft genius to find an inoffensive metaphor that identifies a same-sex relationship and preserves the word and all it implies for those it currently identifies. The new term should not be so legalistic a term as “civil union.” That’s offensive.

Imagine what the invention of the new word would accomplish: It would (or should) end the entire argument over same-sex-marriage definition and legal arguments. It should end the current debate. Homosexuality exists; you can’t do anything about that. Just don’t take away a word that belongs to the rest of us.

SEYMOUR AUERBACH

Chevy Chase, Md.

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