John M. Becker

Miss Manners: Use Marital Terminology For Married LGBTs

Filed By John M. Becker | October 15, 2013 9:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Quote of the Day
Tags: etiquette, gay marriage, husband, marital terminology, marriage equality, Miss Manners, partner, same-sex marriage, spouse, wife

"No, it doesn't. A married male is a husband and a married female is a wife, just as two male parents are both fathers and two female parents both mothers.

"Please don't make trouble. Miss Manners is still weary from the emotion-laden battles over designations for couples who are not married. Perhaps 'partner' is not the best solution (because it also describes a business relationship), but it is better than the explicit, overly cute or puzzling terms that were being suggested.

"At any rate, it is now generally understood: 'partners,' unmarried; 'husband' and 'wife,' married. Using any other terms for legally married same-sex couples would appear to cast doubt on their status and throw them back into the partner category."

-- Judith Martin, AKA Miss Manners, sticking up for the equal application of marital terminology to same-sex and opposite-sex marriages. She gently reprimanded a reader who was confused about how to introduce married same-sex couples and who worried that "traditional language creates ambiguities when applied to our new circumstances."


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