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Petition urges online dictionary to update definition of marriage

Over 90,000 people have signed campaign to correct the meaning of marriage on Dictionary.com
Petition organizer Mike Raven is campaigning for Dictionary.com to update the definition of marriage
Photo by Scott Nunn.

Over 90,000 people have signed a petition urging Dictionary.com to update the definition of marriage.

Petition organizer Mike Raven said: ‘I define marriage as two consenting adults, entering into a life-long relationship as husband and wife, husband and husband, or wife and wife, based on love and commitment.’

With over 50 million visitors a month, Dictionary.com defines marriage as ‘a social institution under which man and woman establish their decision to live together as husband and wife by legal commitments, religious ceremonies, etc.’

Dictionary.com says same-sex marriage is ‘a similar institution involving partners of the same sex.’

Raven said: ‘Why should same-sex marriage get the detail and care that “traditional” marriage gets? They got a blurb right? Isn't that enough? No. With its separate but "equal" styled wording and placement, it is time they hear our voices and correct their definition.’

He adds: ‘By correcting the definition, we could affect legal arguments. We could affect naysayer's perception.

‘We could raise awareness in a positive way and reinvigorate the energy of those who'd like to see a different, better world.

‘And we can finally call "gay marriage" what it should be called: Marriage.’

Supervising editor of the American Heritage Dictionary Steve Kleinedler believes words have changed throughout the years, and dictionaries should reflect modern thinking. For example, ‘gay’ was originally defined as ‘merry or gleeful’.

Other lexicons have followed, such as a Canadian dictionary which defines marriage as ‘the state of being a married couple voluntarily joined for life (or until divorce).’

The campaign is aiming for 150,000 signatures. You can sign the petition here.  

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