Always “Marriage Equality,” Never “Gay Marriage”

Marriage equality became the law of the land in the United States this past Friday.


And already, straight allies are saying some REALLY WEIRD and NONSENSICAL things… in a misguided attempt to show their support, I suppose?


This isn’t even a rant about the irony of straight people who have literally never bothered to show their support before suddenly changing their social media profile pictures to rainbows – I ranted about that on the very day we gained marriage equality.

No, this is something different. This post/rant/thing is about the straight allies who’ve spent the past few days saying things like THIS:

[Gazes dramatically into the distance and then screams in agony]

And this is just one randomly-chosen example!

I’ve seen this sentiment expressed on social media.

I’ve seen it on blogs.

I’ve seen it in the titles of newspaper articles.


Sorry, but I just had to get that out.

Let’s pull apart this statement and examine all the ways that it’s wrong, OK?

First of all, marriage is marriage. My parents’ twenty-fifth wedding anniversary is tomorrow – how ridiculous would it be if I were to go up to them and say, “Congratulations on your successful heterosexual marriage”?

(Answer: VERY ridiculous. Everyone knows real is between a woman and a woman, or a man and a man. LOL.)

There’s a quote I love from the lesbian comedian/actress Liz Feldman. It goes like this:

“It’s very dear to me, the issue of gay marriage. Or as I like to call it: marriage. You know, because I had lunch this afternoon, not ‘gay lunch.’ I parked my car; I didn’t ‘gay park’ it.”


(I don’t gay procrastinate, nor do I gay blog. I merely procrastinate and blog. Et cetera.)


(Caps lock because I am FED UP with this whole “LOL, let’s call it gay marriage” thing.)

For years we have been saying that it’s not gay marriage – as I said before, marriage is marriage. We’ve been asking, telling, demanding that straight people stop othering our marriages for years now.

I don’t know any LGBTQ+ people who call it “gay marriage,” except occasionally in jest – like, I’ve said “gay marriage” but only because my friends and I think it is the height of hilarity to poke fun at crappy allies like Macklemore. (I have great friends.)

And yet I keep seeing/hearing straight allies say, “Now it’s just marriage, not gay marriage!” Like… you are the ones who have been calling it that, not us. Please stop telling us something that we’ve been telling you for ages.

And while I’m at it, please stop acting like the recent SCOTUS ruling somehow abolished the term “gay marriage.” YOU said you supported gay marriage; we said we wanted marriage equality.

Please don’t do an about-face and pretend like you haven’t been ignoring our requests for you to stop calling it gay marriage, because we’ve been asking for years and you haven’t listened.

Like… congratulations, straight people, you just figured out an incredibly basic concept! Wow! Look at you! I mean, it’s totally not as if LGBTQ+ people have been calling it marriage equality and not gay marriage for a really long time now!

When we tell people to use the term “marriage equality,” we’re either ignored or told to stop being so pedantic. When you tell people to use the term “marriage equality,” you’re praised for being so “understanding” and “open-minded.”

And the whole thing ends up becoming a self-congratulatory trend on Facebook as you fall all over yourselves clicking “like” on your friends’ statuses as they post updates concerning some REALLY BASIC, EASY-TO-UNDERSTAND concepts that we’ve been saying for ages… and yet apparently you couldn’t understand us back then, or didn’t want to.

It’s a little ironic, isn’t it? And very annoying.

About nevillegirl

Elizabeth. University of Iowa class of 2019. Triple majoring in English & Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies. Twenty-one-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, aspiring writer, and lesbian. Passionate about feminism, mental health, comic books, and cats.
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3 Responses to Always “Marriage Equality,” Never “Gay Marriage”

  1. Michelle says:

    Wow! Completely new concept to me that it could be offensive to someone. I won’t list numbers or sexual orientation stats, but I promise you many people I know knew what I meant for posting its just marriage now.

    • nevillegirl says:

      I’m sure they did know what you meant! 🙂 That’s not the issue here – the issue is that when actual queer people talk about queer issues, we’re often ignored. When we tell people that “gay marriage” isn’t the proper term to use, we’re told to shut up and stop being so pedantic, told that it’s “just a word” and that “people can call it whatever they want.”

      We’ve been suggesting alternate terms for it for quite a while now, but have been largely ignored. And now it’s become a social media trend that straight people use to show how “down” they are with LGBTQ+ rights, and they’re acting like they’re absolutely freaking brilliant for figuring this out.

      tl;dr I’m happy that straight people finally figured this out, but frustrated that they didn’t listen to us about this topic until now. THIS CONCEPT IS NOT NEW.

  2. Pingback: 2015 Pride Recap | And What To Expect In July & August | Musings From Neville's Navel

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