Monday, 12 March 2012

Changing Marriage

There's been a bit of talk recently about redefining the meaning of the word marriage so that it encompasses same sex relationships. Andrea's post made me think a bit about this a bit more than I had.

The Oxford dictionary define marriage as:
"the formal union of a man and a woman, typically as recognized by law, by which they become husband and wife."

I don't think that any government should be able to simply decide to change the meaning of a word in the English language. Words develop and change their meaning over periods of time granted and in time I suspect the definition of marriage will change to include same sex relationships.

If a government can unilaterally decide to change the definition of a word where does that stop. What is to stop any government changing the definition of a word to suit their purposes.

What if a dictatorship somewhere in the world decided that they were going to change the meaning of a word like murder or genocide? What is a country decided to redefine murder to be the unlawful premeditated killing of a member of the government or one of their family by another person outside the government or its employ.

What about redefining genocide to the deliberate killing of a large group of the ruling elite of this country.

If a government can go about redefining a word like marriage, what's to stop them redefining other words.

If, however, the government does redefine marriage to be between two people, regardless of sex, it will be interesting to see at what point the gender recognition panel change their criteria for granting gender recognition certificates. As far as I'm aware part of the criteria for gaining a gender recognition certificate is that if you are married and want a certificate then you have to get divorced. If you change the definition of marriage then surely that criteria surely goes out the window because providing you want to remain married then it simply will come down to notifying the authorities that you have changed your name and gender for the marriage records to be be updated. Pretty much the way you do with anything else when you transition.

If the government do opt to change the definition of marriage then hopefully they will have done so after giving it a through the knock on effects. If they don't then I can see a lot of legal challenges facing them.

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