On changing names - about as OT as you can get

Jacob Proffitt Jacob at Proffitt.com
Thu Mar 13 02:17:55 EST 2003

---Original Message From: johanna
> > If someone refers to a spouse, husband or wife, monogamy is a 
> > perfectly valid assumption--i.e. something you assume to be 
> true until 
> > provided contrary evidence.  It isn't a given, but then, 
> categorical 
> > assumptions don't have to be universal to be true.  And you 
> gloss too 
> > quickly over the legal hassles of trying to enter a formal 
> > relationship with a married person.  The fact they are currently 
> > married will present not insignificant problems should you desire 
> > marriage with that person later on.
> No, I wasn't talking about divorce, I was talking, as I said, about
> polyamory: http://www.faqs.org/faqs/polyamory/faq/

I know perfectly well what polyamory is.  I'm Mormon and a specific form of
polyamory is a part of the historical record...

But even if they're okay with a polyamorous relationship, the fact remains
that if they are married and you want to marry them some time, you cannot
legally do so without a decent amount of work and pain.  And frankly,
polyamory is *rare* so it's potential presence still doesn't weaken the term

> > Which boils down to my reaction when I hear someone refer to a 
> > "partner" vs. "spouse" is that I then am less inclined to expect 
> > children to enter the conversation at some point.  And even *less* 
> > inclined to assume that any children mentioned are the 
> product of that 
> > person and the "partner".
> But some couples -cannot get married-. That doesn't mean that 
> they automatically don't want, or will never raise, children, 
> & I find it unfair to think of them as more or less inclined 
> than anyone else.

In homosexual relationships, they may be inclined as all get out, but still
be less likely to have children.  For one, they have to overcome biological
hindrance.  That's a not inconsiderable barrier and will weed out (if only
by delay) a good portion of those who want kids from actually having kids
(If ten heterosexual couples want children, over half will have them or be
expecting within a year.  If ten homosexual couples want children, none will
have them within a year, and less than half will succeed in having them
ever).  Which makes it a lot less likely that children will enter the
conversation at some point.

> > Can and are inferred.  That's why the terms will continue 
> as long as 
> > those characteristics remain.  It's causative and will persist no 
> > matter what you try to use in place of "spouse".
> The meaning of words change over time & often do. Never say 
> never, right?

The meaning of words change based on the underlying concepts changing.
Forcing change doesn't work.  Witness "handicapped", "less-abled", and
"challenged".  Or witness "colored", "black", and "African-American" where
the meaning *has* changed (IMO) but only because the underlying attitudes
changed.  Attempts to change the meaning fail unless the underlying purpose
of the word changes.

Jacob Proffitt

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