Social conservatives are pouncing on Merriam-Webster's decision to include gay unions in the definition of marriage in its dictionary.

The inclusion of a second definition of marriage recognizing gay and lesbian unions happened in 2003, a year before Massachusetts became the first state to allow gay marriage, but went widely unnoticed.

The definition recognizes gay and lesbian couples by adding a second definition to the word marriage: “the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage.”

On Tuesday, the conservative website World Net Daily posted viewer's reactions to a YouTube video that highlighted the change.

“I was shocked to see that Merriam-Webster changed their definition of the word 'marriage' a word which has referred exclusively to a contract between a man and a woman for centuries,” Eric B. told the website. “The 1992 Websters' Dictionary does not mention same sex at all.”

But the dictionary is standing by its definition.

“We often hear from people who believe that we are promoting – or perhaps failing to promote – a particular social or political agenda when we make choices about what words to include in the dictionary and how those words should be defined,” Kory Stamper, an associated editor at the dictionary, is quoted as telling a WND reader. “In recent years, this new sense of 'marriage' has appeared frequently and consistently throughout a broad spectrum of carefully edited publications, and is often used in phrases such as 'same-sex marriage' and 'gay marriage' by proponents and opponents alike.”

“Its inclusion was a simple matter of providing our readers with accurate information about all of the word's current uses,” he added.

The YouTube video that first caught the attention of gay marriage opponents ends with the words “WAKE UP!”