I Now Pronounce You Spouse and Spouse

Gay marriage
The gay rights movement has taken another step forward in instituting gender-neutral marriage terms in California state law. (Flickr/Elvert Barnes)

In keeping with its reputation of pioneering social madness, California has now passed legislation which eliminates the words "husband" and "wife" from state laws.

As reported in the Huffington Post, "California's same-sex couples may now be pronounced spouse and spouse after Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed a bill [last] Monday eliminating outdated 'husband and wife' references from state laws."

The Post also explained that, "Senate Bill 1306 was introduced by state Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) to eliminate confusion and correct discriminatory phrasing in the California Constitution that contradicts state law."

Seriously? Referring to "spouse and spouse" rather than "husband and wife" is a way "to eliminate confusion"? And the terms of "husband and wife" are "discriminatory"?

In A Queer Thing Happened to America, I pointed out that, "In Ontario, Canada, as a result of the legalization of same-sex marriage, all references to terms like husband, wife and widow were removed from the law books in 2005. In Spain, birth certificates were changed from 'Father' and 'Mother' to 'Progenitor A' and 'Progenitor B.'"

 Back in America, on January 7, 2011, the State Department announced that "The words 'mother' and 'father' will be removed from U.S. passport applications and replaced with gender-neutral terminology," further explaining that, "These improvements are being made to provide a gender-neutral description of a child's parents and in recognition of different types of families."

Improvements? Well, not to be outdone, California legislators have introduced a further "improvement."

According to a bill passed in the Assembly May 2014 (and by a vote of 51-13, at that; it is AB 1951), a woman could be designated as the "father" on birth certificates while a man could be designated as "mother."

What was the reason for such an insane piece of legislation? It was done to "modernize" the "definition of the family to reflect same-sex unions," also removing "discriminatory" language.

And note again that this bill passed through the Assembly with overwhelming approval.

In an equally absurd ruling in England last year, the Daily Telegraph reported that, "The word 'husband' will in future be applied to women and the word 'wife' will refer to men, the Government has decided."

According to John Bingham, "Civil servants have overruled the Oxford English Dictionary and hundreds years of common usage effectively abolishing the traditional meaning of the words for spouses."

In the government's proposed guidelines, "'husband' here will include a man or a woman in a same-sex marriage, as well as a man married to a woman. In a similar way, 'wife' will include a woman married to another woman or a man married to a man."

And on and it goes, providing reason after reason why it is an act of cultural madness to redefine marriage.

The implications are staggering.

So, let's cut to the chase here with an attempt at returning to semantic and social sanity, beginning with England and then circling back to California. Allow me to make some very simple statements.

Note to England: A woman cannot be a husband and a man cannot be a wife.

Note to California: A woman cannot be a father and a man cannot be a mother.

Further note to California: The terms "husband and wife" are neither discriminatory nor outdated.

Further, further note to California: Your social experiment will fail.

I do not deny that there are same-sex couples who love each other deeply and who are committed to each other long-term, and I do not deny that there are same-sex couples who are absolutely devoted to their children.

I am simply pointing out that their union cannot rightly be called "marriage" (regardless of what the courts might say) without rendering foundational words and concepts meaningless, a sure recipe for cultural chaos.

To repeat: The implications of redefining marriage are staggering, and those of us who love and cherish marriage and family need to redouble our efforts and renew our courage to stand up for what is right and what is best, making a fresh determination to swim against the current flood tide of semantic and social confusion.

True marriage and family will prevail in the end.


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