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This ongoing struggle for marriage equality has been going on since ancient and medieval times all the way to the present. The Netherlands was the first to accept marriage laws to those of the same sex. Now many other countries Brazil, Spain, France, any more have recognized homosexual couples. The problem is with the United States which currently only has sixteen states with legal same sex marriage while thirty three states have banned same sex marriage in their respective states. This is only one of the main issues with same sex marriage laws and there are plenty of other reasons I will be explaining based on their religion, morals and beliefs.
The first altercation I want to talk about is how religion causes lots of controversy over same sex marriage. Most people’s religion has problems against same sex marriage. First they believe in their religion by Gods will that it is immoral to have a marriage of the same sex and saying that it wasn’t what he intended to create. Second in another person’s religion they believe in heterosexual (opposite sex) marriage stating that you cannot get married unless it’s of the opposite gender. These two arguments are just some of the many who are against same sex marriage based on their religion and their moral intentions.
But there are also people who are in the same religion who are for same sex marriage. Many religions like Christians support same sex marriage even though they may not agree with all their views. I believe more people are starting to accept same sex marriage but there are those who still completely despise it. I fully respect all religions and their view towards God the hard part is finding the balance.
A lot of homosexual marriage couples get prohibited or disallow them from public affairs like certain health care centers or even some schools mainly of religious organizations.
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Next I will discuss some ethical views and theories that associate with same sex marriage. The first ethical theory I wish to talk about and it correlation with same sex marriage is Natural Law theory. Natural Law theory is set of laws or rules determined by nature that’s based on are human nature also called the law of nature. First off according to natural law theory homosexuality would disobey are natural law and the way human nature has been set for us years ago.
Also natural law intended us to have a heterosexual union just like when animals mate or give their offspring to their partner to continue the cycle. I agree with natural law and its rules and as a guideline for human behavior and our morals. Are society is evolving and changing rapidly and the way humans interact and socialize is different than before. I’m not saying to change the rules of natural law but re-evaluate the situation now that are society developed into something that doesn’t necessarily agree with all the rules of natural law theory.
Another ethical theory that ties in with same sex marriage and religion would be divine command theory. Divine command theory is when God commands what is morally right and morally wrong. I personally think that same sex marriage infringes with the divine command theory. I would assume that god portrays same sex marriage as immoral and against Gods will. As I stated earlier are society is changing but maybe now God has altered some of its morals and perchance he thinks same sex marriage isn’t as unscrupulous as he once thought.
Utilitarianism is an additional ethical theory that brings lots of controversy both for and against same sex marriage. This theory revolves around the idea of ones morals beliefs to achieve the greatest number of good for the greatest amount of people. With this in mind I see most utilitarian’s agreeing with same sex marriage as it doesn’t cause anyone harm and should make more people happy than not. I also see some utilitarian’s going the other way and saying it causes more harm and not being able to obtain the same level of happiness for those against it.
By using John Stuart Mills and Jeremy Bentham views towards Utilitarianism I can see both of them accepting same sex marriage. The moral principles they idolized they would then appropriately evaluate same sex marriage as something that brings more people happy and causes no harm to people. I don’t think they would necessarily like homosexuality but people having the freedom to enjoy a relationship with whomever they please I can contemplate they will be on board with same sex marriage. In general utilitarian’s should accept same sex marriage as long as no harm is done while achieving happiness is accomplished.
Virtue Ethics is another ethical theory I would like to talk about and its association with same sex marriage. This theory is based on your morals and your character rather than ones actions or duties. It should also be noted that if the morals and behaviors of this person is good natured so should the outcome and vice versa. This brings questions and concerns on how to go about this when same sex marriage is involved.
Now we need to ask ourselves, how would a virtuous person go about same sex marriage? First they need to ask themselves, is homosexuality a good thing or a bad thing? That is the main concern at hand I believe most people would want to help their society by supporting same sex marriage and providing future happiness and care. At the same time I can see people disagreeing and saying that it would bring unhappiness. Overall by utilizing Aristotle view on virtue ethics more people with conclude that by supporting same sex marriage you will be providing for your society as well as becoming a more virtuous person.
A very difficult ethical topic to grasp with same sex marriage is Kant’s categorical imperative. This theory is based on acting according to a maxim that can be used to create a universal law which basically means act with reasons that can apply to similar situations. Homosexuality is a hard subject to talk about using the categorical imperative. First off I don’t think homosexuality itself is the ethical problem but rather the way to demonstrate it correctly.
To clearly illustrate same sex marriage using the categorical imperative we need to understand that we should judge homosexuality based on a maxim where the individual can choose to be homosexual. By just using Kant’s first form you can figure out that if every human being were homosexual then no one would be able to reproduce and thus are society would have been nonexistent. The problem with same sex marriage and the categorical imperative is not the fact that we can’t reproduce if we were all homosexual but incorporating a universal law to fairly answer what’s at stake with same sex marriage.
Psychological and ethical egoism are two theories that can you can use to better understand same sex marriage and get a different view on homosexuality. Egoism by itself means to value things of one’s personal interests but there is a major difference between psychological and ethical egoism. Psychological egoism implies when a person acts solely in their self-interest whereas ethical egoism a person should only do what is in their own self-interest. I will explain both ethical and psychological egoism views toward same sex marriage.
An ethical egoist would say that same sex marriage is neither wrong nor right but when you finally chose to participate in homosexual activities then if you decide to change your mind later it would be wrong of you to do that. This is a weird but straightforward example of how ethical egoism would be like when applied to same sex marriage. On the contrary I don’t see the ethical egoist being against same sex marriage. They have no problems with rights towards homosexuality and whom they marry and also the fact that person chooses to marry someone of the same sex as they have no interest in that based on how ethical egoists are.
Using a psychological egoist view on this is more arduous than that of the ethical egoist. You can use the same example as stated above but you will have a never ending cycle of people’s self-interests and desires and those may not be in favor of same sex marriage and are just satisfying their own greater well-being. Acting on your own interests even you if believe them to be good natured can still cause problems with same sex marriage. If everyone acted on their own self-interests and actions we would never come to agreement with same sex marriage. Psychological egoism is not the best ethical theory to give analogy on same sex marriage but it gives you an idea on people’s self-interests and how important they are when talking about homosexuality.
Cultural relativism is very important ethical principle in relation with same sex marriage. This ethical view states that one’s beliefs and view cannot be overshadowed by another and is culture specific. If I believe for something to be right or wrong in my culture than that doesn’t mean it’s the same for theirs. Cultural relativism is great way to express same sex marriage the way you intended to be and not getting discriminated just because you believe in something they do not. This also respects each and every person’s decision on this matter and you can have a variety of outcomes and appropriately choose the fairest and most accepted way to handle same sex marriage.
Ethical relativism is the last ethical view I will discuss and its correspondence with same sex marriage. Ethical relativism also called moral relativism idolizes itself on making ethical decisions based on right and wrong and these can vary depending on culture and from person to person. This is great ethical theory like cultural relativism to get a well-rounded and sagacious perspective on same sex marriage.
The ethical relativist would view homosexuality as something for them not to judge. They would say that I have no obligation or right to interfere if two people are get married regardless of gender. This may seem very similar to cultural relativism but that’s not quite the case. The main difference between these two theories is that cultural relativism deals with multiple societies believing in different moralities whereas ethical relativism is based on the same moral that is right somewhere is wrong somewhere else.
Overall I believe same sex marriage should be legalized and we should have the freedom to marry who we choose just like freedom of religion. A lot of the ethical views and theory explained show both sides of same sex marriage. Some of them totally against the ideals of same sex marriage others provide support and acceptance of same sex marriage. As years pass on by I still see same sex marriage as one of the most publicized moral problems that will be talked about for decades to come and hopefully changes are made to ensure that any person can marry whomever they like regardless of gender.
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Strasser, Mark P. Legally wed: Same-sex marriage and the constitution. Cornell University Press, 1997.
Sullivan, Andrew. Same-sex marriage: Pro and con. Random House Digital, Inc., 2009.
Shafer-Landau, Russ. The Fundamentals of Ethics. New York, 2011.