(photo: bugmonkey)

The correct term for the goal same-sex couples are fighting for — the recognition of our intimate unions by the state on the same terms, entirely, of the relationships of opposite-sex couples — is “Marriage Equality.” There’s actually no such thing as “Gay Marriage,” which is the preferred term of American homobigots, sometimes accompanied by the disparaging prefix so-called. Besides ensuring fundamental accuracy — we want Equal access to Civil Marriage as it’s defined by the state — one recent poll in one state indicates why the better words are actually the politically smart, and popular, words.

Fifty-two percent of New Jersey voters believe same-sex marriages should be legal, according to today’s Rutgers-Eagleton Poll.

While it is very heartening that a clear majority of Garden State voters support same-sex marriages, here’s the framing argument:

Support for legalizing gay marriage jumps to 61 percent when the issue is framed in terms of “marriage equality,” the favored description of advocates for same-sex couples.

A nine-point jump in favorability; and a twelve-point drop in opposition:

Almost four-in-10 respondents (39 percent) oppose legalizing gay marriage while 9 percent are unsure. Twenty-seven percent are against marriage equality, while 3 percent are unfamiliar with the term and 9 percent have no opinion.

Don’t call yourself a proponent of “gay marriage” or an advocate for “same-sex unions.” Don’t say you want to “legalize gay marriage.” Instead, tell people you favor Marriage Equality. It’s the far more accurate term for what we want and deserve. And it polls much better, too — probably because most patriotic Americans do not oppose equality in any form!

Marriage Equality is the right way to describe what we want. Use this more accurate (and less loaded) term, and you’ll find more allies with you for Marriage Equality wherever you go.

Teddy Partridge

Teddy Partridge