As the debate over traditional marriage continues to brew across America, a well-known dictionary has already made a compromise on the issue.
Since 2003, Merriam-Webster has printed an "updated" definition of marriage in its dictionaries to include same-sex marriage.
The change went unnoticed until WorldNetDaily, a popular conservative news Web site, recently learned about the revision through a YouTube video.
The definition reads as follows:
"Marriage, n., (1) the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law (2) the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage <same-sex marriage>."
Merriam-Webster Associate Editor Kory Stamper denied any political agenda with the new definition.
"In recent years, this new sense of 'marriage' has appeared frequently and consistently throughout a broad spectrum of carefully edited publications," he said in a statement released Wednesday. "Its inclusion was a simple matter of providing our readers with accurate information about all of the word's current uses."
Merriam-Webster's learner's dictionary and collegiate dictionary also make reference to same-sex unions in its definition of marriage.
The Canadian Oxford Dictionary also caught criticism in 2003 for changing its definition of marriage to "the legal or religious union of two people."
Several other online dictionaries have an alternate definition accompanying the traditional definition of marriage.
For example, Dictionary.com lists "a relationship in which two people have pledged themselves to each other in the manner of a husband and wife, without legal sanction: trial marriage; homosexual marriage," as one known definition of marriage.
Sources: WorldNetDaily, The Christian Post