Same-sex ‘marriage’ proponents usage
If you don’t let us get married then you’re DISCRIMINATING against us. This is basically the same as racism, and you’re treating us like second-class citizens, inferior human beings. This is one of The Worst Crimes.
To discriminate: make an unjust or prejudicial distinction in the treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, sex, or age.
Marriage proponents usage
Yes, we are discriminating in this instance, what of it? Let’s revisit the definition:
To discriminate: to recognize a distinction; differentiate.
It is not in itself a negative thing, it simply means to treat different things differently. This is something we do all the time. I don’t prepare for a swim the same way that I prepare for a run, because they’re different things.
Somehow, the negative meaning of discrimination has become conflated with the neutral one. Somehow, even any reasonable distinctions can be classed as “unjust or prejudicial distinctions in the treatment of different categories of people”.
Now, it is certainly possible that there is no significant difference between heterosexual and homosexual relationships, and that treating them differently is therefore an example of an unjust distinction. However, those who shout “Discrimination!” are not just positing the possibility.
The mere fact that people are suggesting that there might be a difference between relationships between two people of the same sex and between a man and a woman is enough to warrant this cry of prejudice.
Instead of seeing rational debate around whether this is a case of a just or an unjust distinction, we are seeing people outrage at the mere fact that a distinction is even being made. This is not a good place to be.