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The conservative language thus creates an image of fear convincing people that any other path aside from its own will lead to a bad end while the liberal language on the other hand presents people with the promise of an uncertain future yet one where all are free to be who they are. As the state of Washington signs into law the gay marriage bill it chooses to join California and several other states that approve of gay marriage and as such either helps the cause of gay marriage or creates more reasons to fight against it.

What must be understood is that debate over gay marriages follows what George Lakoff indicates as a distinct “language” that liberal or conservatives follow when it comes to emphasizing that their cause is correct. The language of conservatism in this case is full of words that indicate responsibility, the need to uphold moral practices to ensure the continued survival of society and last but not least religious statements which indicate that same sex marriage is against the natural order set forth by God. The language of liberals on the other hand focuses on the rights within all individuals, the necessity of having a just and free society and the need to redefine social norms in light of a modernized society that has a lot more conditions and types of people now than ever before. From a certain perspective the debate reflects the ideas of Lakoff in his “strict father model” in which conservatives emphasize the need to implement measures of stability, morality and obedience to set rules of conduct while liberals on the other hand are focus more toward the nuturant parent model which focuses more on positive relationships, contributions to society and caring for others. The conservative language thus creates an image of fear convincing people that any other path aside from its own will lead to a bad end while the liberal language on the other hand presents people with the promise of an uncertain future yet one where all are free to be who they are. When it comes to presenting the correctness behind their claims conservatives often utilize language elements that connect morality with social stability and equates gay marriage as being immoral and as such is bad for society. For example, in his debate for gay marriage Sullivan indicates that conservatives consider gay marriage to be “a slippery slope towards polygamy and other things such as pedophilia, or even bestiality” and as such it is from this account that the socially bad message that conservatives attach to gay marriage comes to light and shows how they connect some of the worst acts of socially bad behavior to it.

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What must be understood in the case of the language of conservatism is that from my perspective it seems to prey on the essential human understanding that there is an inherent need for social stability for without it humanity would be lost and create a lot of violent acts. It is from this particular point of view that they attach the concept of immorality to gay marriage and state that allowing such an act to continue will lead the way towards more socially bad behavior. The inherent problem though with this particular viewpoint is that it is wrong due to the lack of evidence that proves beyond all doubt that gay marriages actually cause socially bad behavior.

Lakoff actually states this in his essay “Why conservatives have left the liberals in the dust” by portraying the main aspects of the conservative language and showing how it inherently lacks sufficient evidence for its statements and rather says that people should just believe what is being stated since it is “right” due to the words being utilized having an inherent ” goodness” to them. For me the language itself places too much emphasis on the concept of immoral behavior that when placed into any form of debate it continuously falls back on the same points connected to religion, past actions and the age old belief that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. It neglects or in fact it cannot go beyond these particular factors since to go beyond such principles is to risk going into unfamiliar territory which would show how the language bases itself on developing a “culture of fear” rather than having a solid basis on what is truly right or actually ethical. The language of liberals when defending gay marriage often states rights that cannot be taken away that are inherent to all individuals and as such emphasizes that governments and society itself should at least acknowledge the rights gay people possess. Sullivan said it best when he stated that “we seek to take away no one’s right to marry; we only ask that those of us who are gay, through no choice of our own, be allowed the same opportunity”.

While Sullivan does not outright state that homosexuals have the same rights as anyone else it is implied by him stating that they be given the same opportunity. The liberal language often emphasizes the concepts of rights and how gays have just as much right to marry as any other social group. In fact Sullivan goes on to state that as times change, with society becoming more accepting of interracial marriages, it is time that society learn to accept the concept of gay marriage. The language of liberals is often full of statements that are focus on fostering good relationships, contributing to the community and helping ones fellow man. It focuses on the argument that people should be allowed to do what they want in the way that they want so long as it doesn’t negatively affect other members of society.

It is based on this that the liberalist language doesn’t seem commanding in the sense that it demands people to follow a certain way because it is “right” rather it places an emphasis on convincing people towards a particular way of thinking by helping them realize the correctness of such arguments by showing their positive effects.


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