Correct the definition of marriage
  • Petitioned Dictionary.com

This petition was delivered to:

Dictionary.com
VP of Marketing and Business Development
Lisa Sullivan-Cross
CEO Dictionary.com
Shavan Goli
Senior Vice President, Global Communications and Brand Marketing
Stacy Simpson

Correct the definition of marriage

    1. Mike Raven
    2. Petition by

      Mike Raven

      Newmarket, NH

Hello, to all who are interested in this petition and cause. My name is Mike Raven, and I would like to start out by stating: I define marriage as: A civil, social and legal institution under which two consenting adults establish their life-long relationship based on love and commitment.

I started this campaign, in part, from my love and fascination with words; in greater part, from my frustration that the fight for marriage equality is still going on; and most of all, from the love I have for my twin sister.

We’re the kind of twins that are extremely close. Before the summer of our 18th birthday, we had not spent more than 4 days apart at any given time. So when she told me she was bisexual at 16, I supported her. When she came out as a lesbian at 18, I congratulated her. Her strength in coming to terms with who she is, is but one of the many things that’s inspired me in my life. But, it’s also broken my heart a few times.

I’ve seen her reaction to hurtful words about homosexuality, and I’ve been hurt by them. I’ve seen her pain from failed relationships with women too insecure with their sexuality to love her the way she deserved, and I’ve been hurt by them. But, now that she’s with a truly amazing woman, I think I may have felt one of the greatest pains so far; her reaction to North Carolina’s passing of Amendment 1.

That night, she posted on Facebook this message:

“I absolutely love Boston, but I would love to someday be able to move somewhere warmer and be legally married in that state. Gay marriage was already illegal in North Carolina. Was it really necessary to pass an amendment?”

To some, they might read anger, or frustration in these words. But knowing my sister, I read the pain of watching another state denounce her for who she is and what her relationship means.

So, I decided. If this whole argument comes down to an intangible definition of marriage, then it’s time for that definition to change. While we cannot change the oppressive and discriminatory way that some religions continue to define marriage, we can go to an even better place. I believe it is time to correct the definition of Marriage at our sources for what words mean: dictionaries.

Specifically, with roughly 50 million visitors per month, we want Dictionary.com to correct the definition of marriage. Dictionary.com says that it’s a “social institution under which man and woman establish their decision to live together as husband and wife by legal commitments, religious ceremonies, etc.” They then brush same-sex marriage off as “a similar institution involving partners of the same sex.” Because why should same-sex marriage get the detail and care that “traditional” marriage gets? They got a blurb right? Isn't that enough? No. With it's separate but "equal" styled wording and placement, it is time they hear our voices and correct their definition.

But how could correcting the definition create the positive change we wish to see in the world? By correcting the definition, we could affect legal arguments. We could affect naysayer's perception. We could raise awareness in a positive way and reinvigorate the energy of those who'd like to see a different, better world. And we can finally call "gay marriage" what it should be called: Marriage.

If you believe the definition of marriage should be extended to all humans, regardless of sexual orientation; if you believe the definition of marriage should focus on the ideas of commitment and love; IF YOU BELIEVE MARRIAGE IS ABOUT TWO CONSENTING ADULTS ENTERING INTO A LIFE-LONG RELATIONSHIP BASED ON LOVE AND COMMITMENT

Then please, sign this petition! Then share it with your friends! Post your definition of marriage as your Facebook or Twitter status. Make a Youtube video redefining marriage in language promoting human rights and marriage equality. Get the message out, and together we can make this difference!

SIGN THE PETITION – CORRECT THE DEFINITION

If dictionaries define words based on usage and public perception, then let’s correct it in a way that extends to everyone. If the polls are right, then their definitions are already outdated, and it’s time they are changed.

Thank you so much for your time and support.

 

Recent signatures

    News

    1. 100,000 and beyond!

      Mike Raven
      Petition Organizer

      I want to thank everyone who has signed so far! Frankly put, I still consider this movement young, and we are already over 100,000 strong.

      While dictionary.com is not so forthright with the exact way they determine definitions, Merriam-Webster explains that USAGE is their first priority. With 102,814 signatures, we have 102,814 uses of a definition that promotes basic human rights and equality for the word “marriage.” So, the higher that number goes, the more credibility we build for our cause!

      Also, I would like to take this moment and say, I have read and heard your comments, and have corrected our definition to be as simple and inclusive as possible. To those who do not identify with the male/female gender identity, I am sorry for the delay on this oversight, and I appreciate your support in this cause.

      Once again, thank you to everyone who has signed so far! Please, keep sharing, keep the signatures coming, and have a great day.

      Sincerely,
      Mike Raven

    2. Reached 100,000 signatures
    3. Almost 100,000!!!

      Mike Raven
      Petition Organizer

      Honestly, the support everyone's shown so far has been amazing! We have ALL 50 states! Also, we have Guam, Puerto Rico, Canada, Afghanistan, American Samoa, Guatemala, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Belgium, Bermuda, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Latvia, Lesotho, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Micronesia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Northern Mariana Islands, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom, Venezuela, Virgin Islands! And it's possible I missed a few... So, thank you so much for joining this cause, and please, keep sharing!

    4. A straightforward solution

      Joe Mirabella
      Petition Organizer

      The Advocate pointed out a 2009 op-ed by Steve Kleinedler, managing editor of The American Heritage Dictionary, that offers an accurate solution for Dictionary.com. Read more at the link.

    5. Reached 75,000 signatures
    6. Petition featured on Instinct

      Joe Mirabella
      Petition Organizer

      From Instinct, "The civil rights movement for marriage equality is often accused of wanting to change the definition of marriage. That's blatant hyperbole, but Mike Raven's new Change.org petition asking Dictionary.com to make its definition of marriage more gay friendly actually provides a legitimate instance of just that." Read more at the link.

    7. Reached 8,000 signatures
    8. HuffPo: Petition Launched To Change The Dictionary Definition Of Marriage

      Joe Mirabella
      Petition Organizer

      Amanda Terkel wrote about Mike Raven's petition urging Dictionary.com to correct the definition of marriage. Dictionary.com responded by saying, "We recognize that the word marriage is at the center of nationwide debate. As we continually seek the best way to convey how all words are being used in multiple contexts, we appreciate all suggestions regarding the description of the current semantic status of "marriage," and constantly strive to marry the multifaceted strands in a way that is as comprehensive as possible. As the first dictionary born digital, we are able to closely monitor and continually evolve word definitions to reflect their most current meanings. We refer you to our definition page for the word marriage, including detailed discussion of its origins, the many ways it is used and various definitions."

    9. Reached 5,000 signatures
    10. Working our way to 5000!

      Mike Raven
      Petition Organizer

      As of the start of writing this, we are at 4,587 and slowly but surely, those numbers keep going up!

      Yesterday, I fought back tears as I read people's reasons for signing. For better or worse, I'm an emotional person, that's just the way I was born. Some of them were funny, some were serious, but they were all heartfelt and amazing. So, thank you all for sharing! Please keep it up! Your story, your words, and your reasons are so important to this cause, and I hope to read many more as the petition continues to grow.

      Thank you so much to everyone who has signed so far, and I continue to urge you to share this with your friends, families and communities. That 10,000 goal is just a number, because you and I know, the more people we can get to sign, the stronger our voice becomes. Together, we can and will make a difference!

      Once again, thank you so much. This really has been amazing, inspiring and uplifting... and it's only just begun!

      Sincerely,
      Mike Raven

    11. Reached 4,000 signatures
    12. Almost 400 and the numbers have only started to rise!

      Mike Raven
      Petition Organizer

      Thank you to everyone who has signed so far!

      As you continue to share this with friends, I'll give this thought. One of the most prevalent arguments so far for NOT signing it has been, "it's too small, we need to think bigger! AND THEN when all is right in the world, let's get the definition corrected."

      But YOU SIGNED IT, because you believe that there can be incredible strength in smaller, simpler actions.

      The very people who would like to see this petition fail (probably) believe that Goliath was defeated by David with a single rock. So, let this be our rock. A rock that comes from the foundation of THEIR argument that marriage IS defined as one man-one woman. Because CURRENTLY, THEY'RE RIGHT. But when we correct the injustice of that definition, in a country that separates church and state, we can change the conversation. We can toss aside their arguments and make the big changes we all want to see.

      Once again, thank you so much for your support!

      Sincerely,
      Mike Raven

    13. Reached 250 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Nikhil Shivakumar FREMONT, CA
      • 3 months ago

      On a gay rights post I posted, someone said being gay was a fetish. She cited a dictionary. Now I'd like to cite a dictionary and say that LGBT marriages are natural.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Katherine B. White MADISON, MS
      • 3 months ago

      Words have meaning and correct wording is important.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Justin Majuk CARMICHAEL, CA
      • 3 months ago

      I am gay myself and would like marriage between same sexes to get as much respect as marriage of man and woman

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Scott Wang TAIWAN, TAIWAN
      • 3 months ago

      It pays to stand for what is right: the element of marriage is love, not gender. After all, "love" matters.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Roy Hodges LAGUNA BEACH, CA
      • 3 months ago

      I think this is obvious, change the definition. This word was hijacked by religious preference during the founding of religions and its time to move on.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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