The fallacy of the phantom distinction is also known as the logical fallacy of distinction without a difference. It occurs when an argument is used to imply a difference between two things although those two things are exactly the same. Arguments like these have caused too many unnecessary conflicts. For example, when someone says, "I oppose gay marriage, but I think gay couples should be allowed civil unions that would give them all the same rights that heterosexual couples have." Although most people might think that a marriage and a civil union is relatively similar, radical groups that are for or against gay marriage see a distinction between the two hence, the argument. A marriage is a civil union with a marriage license and a civil union is also a partnership but without legal documentations. However, for most people the argument will seem redundant because both the terms are relatively the same.
Another example of the fallacy of the phantom distinction is when someone argues, "Before we condemn all violence used to promote a social agenda, we must remember that there is an important distinction between freedom fighters and mere terrorists." To some, there is no difference between a freedom fighter and a terrorist. They're both radical violent groups that acts on an agenda - freedom and/or religion. However, because of the choice of words and the way the sentence was phrased, it swerves the people's perception hence, creating a distinction between the two words. Despite having similar definitions, the word "terrorist" has been stigmatized more negatively than the word "freedom fighters" thus, leading to an argument.