Effects of Same Sex Marriage Research Paper

Pages: 5 (1512 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Women's Issues - Sexuality


Robert P. George and Stephen Macedo both discuss the morality of same-sex marriage legislation. Each has a different stance regarding same-sex marriage, with George arguing against same-sex marriage and Macedo arguing for same-sex marriage, both on moral and rational grounds.

Macedo begins by outlining George's argument so that he can develop and deliver a reasoned response. He notes that George's argument is classified loosely as the "new natural law" position, which entails breaking away from traditional religious injunctions against homosexuality that rely on "narrow prejudice and mere disgust," (p. 99). The new natural law position that Macedo will argue against focuses instead on the inherent moral imperative to engage only in heterosexual procreative sex. George's position will be that any sex not for procreative purposes, including extramarital sex, sex with contraceptive devices, and masturbatory sex, are morally incorrect. Macedo sets forth to disprove this "new natural law position." Macedo clarifies his opponent's argument in the hopes that he can better present a logical counterattack. The "elaborate intellectual case" for promoting heteronormativity is thus set forth by Macedo as the grounds for argument. Macedo then determines to show where the secular, judicial law fits into the same-sex marriage debate.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Research Paper on Effects of Same Sex Marriage Assignment

For starters, Macedo mentions Griswold v. Connecticut, which lays the "foundation of modern privacy jurisprudence," (101). This law was expressly related to the use of contraceptives. Macedo states that because proponents of natural law are also antagonistic towards contraceptives, and because natural law proponents make frequent and pointed analogies between same-sex marriage and contraception within marriage, that the same principles embedded in the Griswold v. Connecticut apply to the argument regarding same-sex marriage. Instead, claims Macedo, proponents of natural law have established a double standard that is intellectually and logically untenable. One reason Macedo finds natural law untenable is that it does not account for marriages in which one or both people are sterile and thus unable to procreate. Macedo finds it hard to differentiate between sterile heterosexual couples (or seniors in heterosexual marriages too for that matter) and fertile homosexual couples. Moreover, Macedo accuses the natural law perspective of promoting a "cramped view" of "valuable sexual relations," (105). The natural law position, according to Macedo, greatly exaggerates the degree to which non-procreative sex is evil or sinful or immoral. Macedo also finds it troubling that pleasure is demonized in the natural law position. For natural law proponents, masturbation and mutual pleasure seeking in a marriage of any type is wrong by the very fact that the sex act is devoted toward the achievement of pleasure.

For the "new natural law" proponent George, same-sex marriage is a moral issue because it is against nature. Nature ensures that all marriages are bound by a social and spiritual contract, and that contract is centered on the miracle of procreation. Procreation is the only legitimate foundation for any marriage. Because procreation is only possible within a heterosexual union (other than via artificial insemination), all other configurations of marriage are incorrect and immoral. George links same-sex marriage with other non-heterosexual, non-monogamous forms of marriage such as polyandry and polygamy, to show that those other forms of marriage have been dismissed as immoral and so too should same-sex marriage. Monogamy is therefore as important to the definition of marriage as heterosexuality.

Even when a heterosexual marriage cannot yield children, as is the case with the elderly or with sterile couples, the marriage is still inherently moral because there was the express intent to have children. If children are not possible, sex within that marriage is still dedicated to the spiritual possibility that children might be the result of the union. From this reasonable framework, George wages an attack on same-sex marriage based on several logical fallacies such as the slippery slop argument and solipsism. Marriage is a moral contract, and it is immoral to consider marriage as being anything other than that contract; the grounds for the primary assumption is not articulated but is implied to be religious law. George, and others opposed to same-sex marriage, tacitly support the fusion of religious law with common or secular law in a manner befitting of a theocratic democracy.

Moral judgment should be the only foundation upon which to base secular law, according to George. Marriage in the moral sense, which is the only sense that should be recognized by the law, is a "two-in-one-flesh communion of persons that is consummated and actualized by act that are procreative in type, whether or not they are procreative in effect," (120). There can be no marriage that does not fit this definition, for to do so would be to contradict natural law. The goal of marriage has never been pleasure, or the personal growth of two individuals. Marriage has always been about a man and a woman, a penis and a vagina, uniting at the man's will. The resulting patriarchal union is ensconced in moral law. According to George, the instrumentalization of sex is the root moral problem with same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage uses sex as a tool for pleasure and not in service of the almighty "one-flesh unity." Moreover, George makes his statement against same-sex marriage because "sodomitical and other intrinsically nonmarital sexual acts really are self-alienating, and as such, immoral," (127). The job of the government is not to be neutral with regards to moral law, as it would be doing if it were to sanction same-sex marriage, but to be decisive. The law must favor that which is moral, or else the law is meaningless. Same-sex marriage is self-centered, self-alienating, and categorically wrong, according to George.

With regards to which writer's opinion about same-sex marriage better fits democracy, it is clear that George's does. George and the natural law position proclaim the immorality of masturbation and all other sex that is not for procreative purposes. Immorality has no place in a democracy, for if they did, the democracy would either become anarchical or tyrannical. On these grounds alone it becomes possible to oppose same-sex marriage in a democratic society, because to permit same-sex marriage would be to open the door to tyranny and anarchy.

Furthermore, same-sex marriage celebrates sex that is mutually loving and consensual. Same-sex marriage is merely pleasurable, and has no higher purpose. A democracy is committed to a higher purpose, and must always be committed to a higher purpose. Thus, democratic societies must oppose any marriage that is based on pleasure alone. The purpose of a democracy is also to foster citizen participation in the legislative process, even in indirect democracies like that of the United States. Within the framework of democracy, it becomes possible to promote monogamous moral sex and impossible to promote promiscuous polygamous sex within a marriage. If a democracy can proscribe polygamy, then it must also proscribe homosexual unions. No democracy should be hypocritical or ambiguous on the issue of marriage, which is an institution central to the moral fabric of society.

Moreover, the notion that marriage is nothing more than the patriarchal procreative institution is also central to a democracy. Democracies are built on patriarchal law, which mirrors the patriarchal institution of heterosexual marriage. The fact that a happy, productive, professional same-sex married couple could theoretically contribute to the community means nothing. It would be far preferable to have a democracy filled with unhappy heterosexual couples who, at least, follow natural law. In light of the fact that natural law prohibits pleasure, a democracy must also prohibit pleasure. Pleasure is morally wrong, and a democracy should only promote what is morally right. Therefore, it is clear that George's opinion about same-sex marriage is a better fit for democracy. Democracy is based loosely on the notion that the people participate in the political process, yet without giving into the tyranny of the majority. If a democracy is dedicated also to the… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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