Could it be because the social significance of the word carries meaning far beyond its dictionary definition? Could it be the LGBT activists are trying to make an end run around social convention? Obviously, you folks feel the word is controlling, it is important to you, not only because it is in law but for its connotative significance also. How about a one line rider to a completely innocuous and unrelated bill that says something like, Civil unions are equivalent to marriage in the eyes of the law. Poof, problem solved and you don't have to fight the entire religious community over it. If the religious right ever goes on the attack, you guys are boned. So far all they've said is no.
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