A proposal made to the New Zealand Government to utilise a new word for same sex marriage has provoked debate.
Campaigner Russell Morrison, speaking at a marriage equality legislation public hearing, suggested “sarriage” to be used to define same sex union. His explanation was that the word “marriage” is used to refer to a union between man and woman; so “sarriage” would make an appropriate term for married gay couples, “to make the situation clear for everybody”.
Rodney Croome, from Australian Marriage Equality, countered
“What is the point of assigning same-sex couples a different word when ‘marriage’ describes exactly what many same-sex couples already have, a loving, committed, long-term relationship?”
Does there really need to be a separate definition, when the word “marriage” should work equally for all? New words come about through several different ways. The way that the word “sarriage” has been constructed is clearly from blending “same sex” and “marriage.” Morrison’s explanation that this is because “marriage” is from a union between a man and a woman is prejudiced on several levels, not only as it alienates same sex couples, but also women. The word marriage is not termed thus because “man” is first – it’s derived from the Latin maritari (to get married), which could be used either in the masculine or feminine form.
This word isn’t a gender or sexuality issue, and should be left as it is to define a union between two people, regardless.