Support Dictionary Definition of ‘Marriage’ Respecting Same-Sex Unions


Target: John Simpson, Chief Editor of the Oxford English Dictionary

Goal: Encourage the definition of ‘marriage’ to be changed to include same sex marriages

Marriage, as currently defined by the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), is “the formal union of a man and a woman, typically recognized by law, by which they become husband and wife.” Yet recently that definition of marriage has been challenged worldwide, as more countries and states are shifting to allow same sex couples to perform marriage. With the recent approval of same sex marriage in England, the Oxford English Dictionary is considering changing its stance on an archaic definition.

This won’t happen immediately, however. A representative of the OED stated that, “we continually monitor the words in our dictionaries, paying particular to those words whose usage is shifting, so yes, this will happen with marriage.” Further, she added that “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.” With this in mind, the definition will not change altogether, but a new and updated definition of the word would be added.

This is a step in the right direction. Sign this petition to voice your support for the inclusion of same sex marriages into the OED’s definition. Public support will help ensure this small victory, and perhaps the OED can set an example to other dictionaries with their courage to challenge the standard meaning of marriage.


Dear Mr. Simpson,

With the recent approval of same sex marriage within Parliament, the Oxford English Dictionary has stated that it is considering changing the definition of marriage to include the same sex community. I would like to applaud and encourage this change within the OED. Including the same sex community in the definition of marriage is a small, but important step in recognizing the legitimacy of same sex marriages worldwide.

I understand that there is a process involved, including monitoring the usage of the term ‘marriage’ before updating its definition. I would like to voice my encouragement and support of this change, and hope that you will take this into consideration.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Jaubele1 via Flickr

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