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Correct the definition of marriage

This petition had 118,780 supporters

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 to correct the definition of marriage. 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!


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.


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