Essay: Same Sex Marriage the United States

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Same Sex Marriage

The United States should legalize same sex marriage. There is no reasonable, rational argument for opposing same sex marriage, and many good arguments in favor of it. When emotion and superstition are removed from the debate, the conclusion is clear that legalizing same sex marriage is the only moral, just and rational response to this issue. This paper will make the case on moral grounds, ethical grounds, and legal grounds, that the United States should legalize same sex marriage. This paper will include a refutation of the arguments against same sex marriage as well.

Ethical Arguments

There are essentially two main schools of ethical thought that can be applied to the issue of same sex marriage. Ethics are an important consideration that is tied to how the country is run, and what role that government has. In the United States, government is created by the people for the people, and therefore has a democratic system that should reflect the will of the people. Whatever was thought in the past, today the majority of Americans support same sex marriage (Murray, 2013). The figures are even higher for younger people, in other words those who will be taking charge of this world. From an ethical perspective, the United States can be seen as utilitarian in nature. In this theory of ethics, the right action is that which supports the greatest good in outcomes for the greatest number of people (Sinnott-Armstrong, 2011).

While Mill had not developed the idea of utilitarianism when the founding fathers created the United States, clearly a democratic society was created under the idea that the United States should be a society where government exists to help create the greatest good for the greatest number. Normally, such a philosophical approach requires an analysis of tradeoffs, but in the case of same sex marriage it does not. There is no downside -- no material negative consequence to anybody -- while there is an upside. Under normal circumstances, when government has the opportunity to create a situation where there is a set of winners and no offsetting set of losers, that would be the ethical decision to make under a utilitarian approach.

Another type of ethical argument is deontological, wherein a categorical imperative defines the moral or just course. The major issue is that it needs to be defined where such an imperative might come from. Opponents of same sex marriage argue things like "natural law" or "God's law," both of which are abstractions molded to suit the needs of the speaker. If there is a natural law in the universe we do not know it yet, and probably should not pretend to. The right moral choice is often defined in terms of prevailing moral norms (Alexander & Moore, 2012). In this situation, it is wise to turn back to majority public opinion, which as noted is in support of same sex marriage and among the leaders of the future is strongly in support of it. If the majority finds no moral qualm, then the nation as a whole should not find moral qualm. Even among those who oppose same sex marriage, they based their morals on the assumption that God finds it objectionable. The reality is that such people know nothing of God's will and are only guessing -- their stance is their own personal one to which they are attempting to lend credence by borrowing God's name.

The United States also takes the view that personal freedom is an imperative of American society, and by extended personal freedoms society will flourish. Restrictions on gay marriage are just that -- restrictions -- and the categorical imperative of the American government is that personal freedom should be enhanced where possible, provided it does not infringe on the freedoms of others. In the case of same sex marriage, restricting the freedom of a subset of Americans runs counter to the categorical imperative of the preservation of freedom that sits at the core of American values.

Moral Arguments

Even if one accepts the tenuous proposition that the Bible -- or any other holy book for that matter -- takes a stance on gay marriage, the moral case stands strongly in favor of legalizing gay marriage. The United States is a nation based on rights, and these rights are to be applied universally to all adults. This sets a standard of morality that is civilian in nature, as was the intent of the founding fathers. Religious arguments, therefore, have no place in public discourse -- the United States is not a theocracy. The morals by which this country operates are clear that all adults are to be treated equally. When the laws did not match this moral imperative, the laws were forced to be changed and society changed along with these laws. Women were allowed to vote, African-Americans saw the systemic discrimination against them reduced over a succession of steps. The singling out of homosexuals for special, punitive legal treatment on the basis of their sexual habits is a perversion of the morals on which the United States was founded.

Even if the public, moral argument is based on religion, to take a singular interpretation of a holy book without considering the book's teachings in a holistic manner is little more than selection bias. The Bible also teaches people to love their neighbor, and that God will judge. For the people to fail to love their neighbor, and to place themselves in a role that the Bible reserves for God is repugnant, and blasphemous. The founding fathers wanted the U.S. To be a secular society specifically because of selective, repugnant, irrational perversions of Biblical teaching.

Legal Arguments

The issue of same sex marriage is an active political topic in the United States. At the state level, many states are already allowing same sex marriage, some by referendum and others through the work of legislators (Honan, 2013). There are even arguments to protect those who stand opposed to same sex marriage of having their names in public (Canfield, 2013). Indeed, most opponents of same sex marriage lack the courage of their beliefs to use their real names, like this collection of weak arguments against same sex marriage (TFP, 2013).

The Supreme Court of the United States is presently deliberating the issue, and is expected to render a decision in June. It is not known how the court will vote on the issue before it, but legally it would seem that the Constitution would have no reason to ban same sex marriage. Indeed, laws were written mostly at a time when the issue was not considered to be an issue. All over the world, as nations realize that their laws need to be clarified, they make those changes. Many states have already taken this approach, writing laws to explicitly permit same sex marriage in order to keep their laws in line with Constitutions and in line with moral and ethical norms.

Counterarguments

There are no coherent, credible counterarguments. Opposition to same sex marriage derives not from logical analysis of the facts and careful consideration of the morals and social norms of the United States. Consider the common arguments. The first is that homosexual acts are immoral. This may be the case based on one's holy book, but the United States is a secular society so morality is not defined by religious texts of any sort. A further claim is that homosexuality is an act against God. However, such an argument ignores the reality that God is perfectly capable of dealing with sinners -- and did so in the Bible -- and does not charge human beings with the text of enforcing his will.

Another line of argument against same sex marriage rests on a traditional view of marriage as being between a man and a woman. If the Bible is being cited, this demonstrates selection bias as many types of marriage -- most of which would not be considered moral and acceptable today -- were described in that book. This argument can be made by invoking religion, however, leaning on social norms. Those norms, however, have changed. When norms change -- for example with respect to slavery, spouse abuse or physical disciplining of children -- the laws change. The moral norms argument stands in favor of same sex marriage based on where those norms are today in the U.S., not against.

Additionally, some attempt to put forth the idea that marriage laws were written understanding the institution as between a man and a woman in order to foster some specific ideas about procreation and family. These arguments lack intellectual substance. Homosexuals are not going to procreate regardless of whether or not they are married, and heterosexual couples are not going to stop procreating regardless of the status of same sex marriage -- this line of reasoning in a non-sequitur. Further, the idea that the definition of a marriage is tied to specific ideas about the optimal design of the family for maintaining social… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Same Sex Marriage the United States.  (2013, April 13).  Retrieved July 23, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/same-sex-marriage-united-states/6577888

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