Bench Memos

Re: “Marriage”—A Question of Usage

I explained in this post why I believe that Walter Olson’s tweet that attacked me for putting the word marry (for a same-sex couple) in quotation marks was unfair.

Olson somehow sees fit to reply by providing an insipid misrepresentation of my position in the title of his post: “Whelan: I’ll use scare quotes around ‘marry’ whenever I feel like it.” He remarks, in seeming complaint, that I have “written a whole blog post on the topic”—as though there is some greater virtue in the concise vapidity of his snarky tweet. Rather than address (or even present) the supporting arguments I make, he thinks it meaningful to posit that other supporters of traditional marriage, in not using quotation marks around marry, “are more concerned not to give offense.” (Non-sequitur alert: It doesn’t follow from that proposition that I desire to give offense.) And when his post predictably generates nasty epithets directed at me from his readers, he professes that “the point of [his] post was to set a better standard of civility”!

I would submit that Olson would have set a “better standard of civility” if, instead of resorting to a cheap headline distortion, he had actually engaged my argument.

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