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WHY SAME-SEX MARRIAGE IS UNJUST

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 March 2016

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Abstract

Proponents of same-sex marriage often defend their view by appealing to the concept of justice. But a significant argument from justice against same-sex marriage can be made also, as follows. Heterosexual union has special social value because it is the indispensable means by which humans come into existence. What has special social value deserves special recognition and sanction. Civil ordinances that recognize same-sex marriage as comparable to heterosexual marriage constitute a rejection of the special social value of heterosexual unions, and to deny such special social value is unjust.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Royal Institute of Philosophy 2016 

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Notes

1 I take this to be obvious, and I would not bother to mention it except for the fact that my argument pivots on this point. Shakespeare's Hamlet entertained the question whether it is better to live or not to live. Although some would answer negatively regarding his or similarly agonizing cases, as applied to the existence of humanity in toto the correct answer to Hamlet's question is clearly affirmative.

2 Furthermore, as some have observed, homosexuals do enjoy the privilege to marry, so long as they do so with someone of the opposite sex. This might seem to be an empty or even mocking point because it ignores the distinct sexual desires of homosexuals. But there are many other civil privileges the criteria for which are similarly unyielding to the unique desires of particular citizens, such as the disqualification of the severely visually impaired when it comes to obtaining a driver's license or joining the armed forces.

3 By most counts, there are over 1,100 benefits provided to married couples by the U.S. federal government and many more benefits provided at the state level, including automatic inheritance, divorce protections, burial determination privileges, automatic housing lease transfer, domestic violence protection, joint bankruptcy privileges, and wrongful death benefits.

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