In light of Britain’s recent legalization of same-sex marriage, the publishers of the largest dictionary of the English language say that they will amend the definition of marriage to include that of the same-sex variety.
“We continually monitor the words in our dictionaries, paying particular to those words whose usage is shifting, so yes, this will happen with marriage,” said a spokesperson for the Oxford University Press. “We are constantly monitoring usage in this area in order to consider what revisions and updates we may need to make. It’s worth pointing out that, as the OED is distinct from other dictionaries in being a historical record of the language, meanings of the past will remain, even while language changes and new ones are added.”
As it stands, the Oxford Dictionary defines marriage as…
the formal union of a man and a woman, typically as recognized by law, by which they become husband and wife
A secondary definition adds that “(in some jurisdictions) a union between partners of the same sex.”
According to Gay Star News, gay rights activists have been lobbying to change the wording to include same-sex unions in the primary definition – as they claim that relegating it to a secondary description is discriminatory.
Other dictionaries like the Larousse in France and the Canada Space Dictionary already primarily define marriage to include same sex unions.
It remains to be seen whether the OED will amend the definitions to specifically include same-sex unions, or simply take gender out of the definition altogether – something like “a legal union between two people.”[Gay Star News via Gawker]