August 24, 2009

What's in a Name?

"That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." So says Shakespeare. And perhaps it would. Perhaps a person, by any other name, would feel as happy. Perhaps the person named "lower" or "second-class" would have just as much self-esteem as one titled "beautiful" or "upper-class." But- I doubt it...

The idea that different names don't change the true essence of an object may be valid. But different names do change the way we view that object, or that person, or that institution... And the way others view us can change our lives. This is because we humans are fragile. We wish to belong, to be accepted, to be loved for who we are. If we are separated from the crowd, we feel hurt. Degraded. Lost.

This is why the word "marriage" is so important.

Some say that a civil union is equal to a marriage. Economically, perhaps this could be so, assuming people entering into civil unions were granted the same rights as married couples. But socially? Truly? Separate but equal is never equal.

Dignity. Pride. Happiness. This is what's in a name. Why is there any reason for us to deny gay and lesbian couples the use of the world "marriage"? The only difference it would make is their happiness... and why deny them that? According to, yes, Thomas Jefferson himself, the pursuit of happiness is their right.

That is something you can't change, no matter how many words you say...


  1. rideabicycle10:48 PM

    You are taking your concept of "the Pursuit of Happiness" from just those words alone.

    The full passage from the Declaration of Independence:
    "We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness—-That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed"

    Consent of the Governed. The Government legislates on behalf of the people. In this case, as I have demonstrated via national polling data, there is clearly no consent.

  2. Ride can you reiterate what you wrote please I don't understand what you wrote.
    Laura, does the word "marriage" determine happiness or should happiness already exist before it?


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  4. rideabicycle1:19 AM


    The author argues that denial of homosexuals the right to marry is inconsistent with the "inalienable right" to pursue happiness as asserted in the Declaration of Independence.

    I contend that she is forming her argument without considering the entire passage, which states that Government, which is created to ensure such a right, derives its power from "the Consent of the Governed."

    Essentially, what I'm saying is that the Federal Government may legislate only in accordance with the wishes (Consent) of Americans (the Governed).