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The Same Sex Marriage Debate. BACKGROUND Same sex marriage laws in the US (wikipedia)wikipedia.

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Presentation on theme: "The Same Sex Marriage Debate. BACKGROUND Same sex marriage laws in the US (wikipedia)wikipedia."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Same Sex Marriage Debate

2 BACKGROUND

3 Same sex marriage laws in the US (wikipedia)wikipedia

4 Same sex marriage around the world (wikipedia)wikipedia

5 Supreme Court Cases (March 26-27) The DOMA Case – “At Issue: Whether the federal Defense of Marriage Act violates equal protection guarantees in the Fifth Amendment's Due Process Clause, as applied to same-sex couples legally married under the laws of their own state.” (CNN)CNN The California Prop 8 Case – “ At Issue: Whether the Constitution's 14th Amendment guarantee of ‘equal protection’ prevents states from defining marriage as only between one man and one woman.” (CNN)CNN

6 THE DEBATE

7 Arguments For and Against Same Sex Marriage AGAINST I.Religious Arguments A.Biblical—Leviticus B.? REBUTTAL II.The argument from public disagreement (Jordan) REBUTTAL: BOONIN FOR I.Religious Arguments REBUTTAL II.Argument from purpose of marriage (Rauch) REBUTTAL: GALLAGHER

8 ARGUMENTS AGAINST GAY MARRIAGE

9 I. Religious A. Biblical Leviticus 20:13--“If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable.” 1.Every ethical pronouncement in the bible is true. 2.The bible says homosexuality is detestable. 3.Marriage laws should prohibit what is detestable. THEREFORE, 4.Gay marriage should be illegal. REBUTTAL Other pronouncements in Leviticus 20

10 II. The argument from public disagreement (Jeff Jordan, 1995) DEFINITIONS 1.Discrimination – treating differently; not always morally wrong (e.g. we rightly discriminate against children when we don’t let them vote)

11 Definitions 2.Parity thesis – “homosexuality has the same moral status as heterosexuality” (p. 237) so there should be no discrimination against homosexuality 3.Difference thesis—”there are morally relevant differences between heterosexuality and homosexuality which justify a difference in moral status and treatment” (p. 237) So “there are situations in which it is normally permissible to discriminate against homosexuals.”

12 Definitions 5.Moral impasse—some believe X is morally wrong and some believe it’s permissible 6.Public dilemma—a moral impasse with public policy ramifications, so the government must take a stand

13 Definitions (two ways to resolve public impasses) 7.Resolution by declaration—government declares a winner and loser (e.g. slavery, prohibition) 8.Resolution by accommodation—government “gives as much as possible to all sides of the impasse” (p. 239), there’s a compromise

14 Jordan’s first argument (p. 241) 1.“There are conflicting claims regarding whether the state should sanction same-sex marriages. [religious opposition] And, 2.this controversy constitutes a public dilemma. [taxation, social security, law, etc.] And, 3.there is an accommodation possible if the state does not recognize same-sex marriages [i.e. choice in private realm]. And, 4.there is no accommodation possible if the state does sanction same-sex marriages [religious opponents stuck supporting & recognizing same sex marriages]. And, 5.there is no overriding reason for a resolution via declaration. [no basic rights involved] Hence, 6.the state ought not sanction same-sex marriages. And, 7.the state ought to sanction heterosexual marriages. So, 8.there is at least one morally relevant case in which discrimination against homosexuals, because of their homosexuality, is morally permissible. Therefore, 9.the difference thesis is true.”

15 Jordan’s second argument (p. 243) 1.“No just government can coerce a citizen into violating a deeply held moral belief or religious belief.” (“A” on p. 243) 2.If same sex marriage were legalized, there would be no “exit right”—no way for opponents to avoid supporting it, in violation of their deeply held moral/religious beliefs. THEREFORE 3.Same sex marriage should be illegal while heterosexual marriage is legal. (i.e. the difference thesis is true)

16 Argument for the parity thesis (p. 238) (Jordan rejects) 1.“Homosexual acts between consenting adults harm no one. And, [Jordan says this is questionable when the act is marriage, as opposed to private sex] 2.respecting persons’ privacy and choices in harmless sexual matters maximizes individual freedom. And, 3.individual freedom should be maximized. But, 4.Discrimination against homosexuals, because of their homosexuality, diminishes individual freedom since it ignores personal choice and privacy. So, 5.the toleration of homosexuality rather than discriminating against homosexuals is the preferable option since it would maximize individual freedom. THEREFORE, 1.the parity thesis is more plausible than the difference thesis.”

17 OBJECTIONS AGAINST JORDAN David Boonin, “Same-Sex Marriage and the Argument from Public Disagreement”

18 Boonin’s three objections 1.Jordan’s accommodation isn’t really an accommodation. People for same-sex marriage are losers on the marriage issue; people against private homosexual sex acts are losers on the private sex issue. 2.Reductio ad absurdum involving inter-racial marriage 3.Jordan overlooks a pivotal, overriding right: the right to marry anyone you choose

19 Reductio ad absurdum (“reductio” for short) 1.Suppose argument or claim A were correct. 2.Then by similar reasoning, we would have to conclude that B. 3.But B is absurd. 4.So A must not be correct after all.

20 Slippery Slope 1.Suppose A were done. 2.Then B would happen. 3.Then C would happen. 4.Then D would happen. 5.D would be really bad. 6.So A should not be done.

21 Reductio ad absurdum vs. Slippery Slope Arguments Reductio ad absurdum 1.Suppose argument or claim A were correct. 2.Then by similar reasoning, we would have to conclude that B. 3.But B is absurd. 4.So A must not be correct after all. Slippery Slope 1.Suppose A were done. 2.Then B would happen. 3.Then C would happen. 4.Then D would happen. 5.D would be really bad. 6.So A should not be done.

22 Boonin’s reductio ad absurdum against Jordan 1.Suppose we should prohibit same sex marriage because a.it’s a public matter b.some have deep religious or moral objections c.there’s no way to give opponents exit rights 2.Then by similar reasoning, we would have had to prohibit interracial marriage too. 3.But prohibiting interracial marriage is absurd. 4.So we shouldn’t prohibit same sex marriage after all.

23 The similar reasoning Same sex marriage it’s a public matter some people have deep moral and religious objections there’s no way to give opponents exit rights  PROHIBIT, PROVIDED THAT PRIVATE BEHAVIOR ALLOWED Interracial marriage it’s a public matter some people have deep moral and religious objections there’s no way to give opponents exit rights  PROHIBIT, PROVIDED THAT PRIVATE BEHAVIOR ALLOWED

24 Other forms the reductio could have taken? 1.Suppose we should prohibit same sex marriage because a.it’s a public matter b.some have deep religious or moral objections c.there’s no way to give opponents exit rights 2.Then by similar reasoning, we should prohibit _______________too. 3.But prohibiting ____________ is absurd. 4.So we shouldn’t prohibit same sex marriage after all. What else could go in the blanks?

25 Jordan’s response: dissimilarities Same sex marriage it’s a public matter some people have deep moral and religious objections there’s no way to give opponents exit rights 1.public dilemma 2.prohibition involves sexuality discrimination; not a settled matter that this violates any rights 3.objection is to behavior only, not identity of participants Interracial marriage it’s a public matter some people have deep moral and religious objections there’s no way to give opponents exit rights 1.no dilemma, settled 2.prohibition involves racial discrimination; settled matter that this violates rights 3.objection is to identity of participants, not behavior Jordan: because of these differences, we can rationally support a ban on gay marriage without supporting a ban on interracial marriage.

26 Boonin’s response to Jordan Same sex marriage it’s a public matter some people have deep moral and religious objections there’s no way to give opponents exit rights 1.public dilemma 2.prohibition involves sexuality discrimination, not a settled matter that this is bad 3.objection is to behavior only, not identity of participants Interracial marriage it’s a public matter some people have deep moral and religious objections there’s no way to give opponents exit rights 1.no dilemma, settled 2.prohibition involves racial discrimination, settled matter that this is bad 3.objection is to identity of participants, not behavior True? Relevant? Does it really involve racial discrimination? False!

27 NEXT Boonin says we have a right to marry whomever we wish Is there such a right? What is marriage really for? Why does the government support it? Jonathan Rauch vs. Maggie Gallagher Have a great spring break!


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