Friday 24 February 2017

Gay marriage: the meaning of words changes, get over it

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said the Catholic Church needed a reality check after the gay marriage referendum result
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said the Catholic Church needed a reality check after the gay marriage referendum result

With regard to Eric Conway's letter (Irish Independent, October 19), I agree that opposition to gay marriage is rooted in moral difficulties about homosexuality and in the unease we all feel when words begin to change their meanings.

I share much of Eric's unease about the shifts and changes in meaning but not his antipathy towards same-sex unions. I have regularly warned students about rooting their judgments in definitions or in appeals to the origin of words. The way a word found its way to us is of little significance in determining its meaning.

Meaning changes: 'nice' once meant 'silly', 'to decimate' once meant 'to kill one out of ten'.

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