Framing the Marriage Argument

The latest videos from the Human Rights Campaign released today feature former mayors Ed Koch and David Dinkins.

“I’m a New Yorker who supports marriage equality” Koch says. “Join me as a New Yorker for marriage equality,” Dinkins says in his video.

The phrases I’ve often heard in this debate –  “same-sex marriage” and “gay” – aren’t heard in either video, which, I think, says something about how the issue is being framed.

Brian Ellner, the senior strategist for HRC’s Campaign for New York Marriage, emailed me to explain the language the group is employing:

” ‘Gay marriage’ is the media’s way of short-cutting the concept. We’re not looking to create a separate institution. Committed gay and lesbian couples – many of whom have been together for decades – are looking to join and strengthen the institution of marriage with the same rights and responsibilities as everyone else.

“(We’re not asking for something different or other or lesser but seeking to participate in marriage with the same rules, responsibilities and protections. This is about ending an exclusion.)”