SEX MARRIAGE

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DEBATE ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGE Introduction Same sex marriage has been a controversial issue in the society today. It is among those issues which philosophers and debaters have argued and ponder upon. Regardless of all the attention, or possibly due to the attention, instead of resolving the issue, the controversy surrounding it continues to increase. It appears that the issue of same-sex marriage has outstripped what is acceptable by only reasons that are publicly identifiable, as claims against the practice have appeared to move towards the public field of wide-ranging values instead of remaining within the public sphere and explained from the point of view of public reason. This paper is a discussion of the argument that public reason as conceived by John Rawls is incapable of providing solution to resolving the issue of same-sex marriage. Considering the Marriage Privatization Model to prove that the Rawlsian doctrine is insufficient in addressing the issue of same-sex marriage. The argument that the institution of marriage is a significant cultural one, does not lead to the notion that the institutions is not flexible. On the other hand, there is an even stronger claim against the estimation of Dworkin, which is that there is an even greater position against the practice than it is illustrated. This paper will provide an argument against same-sex marriage using the Marriage Privatization Model. From the model, the argument is that the support of same-sex marriage by the government is not appropriate, and thus, the most legitimate and convincing claim against the practice would be that the support of the practice by the states all over the world should be condemned[1]. From a Rawlsian point of view, which is based on public reason, this paper will prove that the public reason argument is inadequate in resolving the issue. The state should not support civil unions between two people of the same sex, but only those of heterosexual couples. Therefore, the argument presented in this paper is that the only convincing and sustainable argument to oppose same-sex marriage is the argument to make the marriages private. The Marriage Privatization Model is the only one that is sustainable as long as it is related to the Rawlsian doctrine. There is also a significant reason why people should commit themselves to public reason in dealing with controversial issues like same-sex marriage[2]. Before digressing into the main issue it will be important to discuss and bring up the the definition of public reason, according to the Rawlsian doctrine. The notion of public reason is one of the components that Rawls as made up as an organized constitutional democratic society. Public reason plays a key role in defining the content and form which the people should apply in debating with one another in important argumentative issues[3]. The argument presented by Rawls is that public reason is important due to the fact that the society which is democratic should have reasonable variety[4]. This means that the society is expected to have numerous contradictory religious and well as moral wide-ranging philosophies. Also, it should be noted that public reason does not challenges or criticize the wide-ranging doctrines, unless in the case that it contradicts with the basic public reason, or when the doctrine fails to accept legitimate law and democratic regime. Citizens in a democratic society are viewed as being reasonable, considering each other free as well as equal and in a system characterized by social unity from generation to generation, and therefore prepared to provide each other with fair cooperation terms based on what is considered to be rational idea of justice. The people will always have contrary ideas of what they think is meant by reasonable political justice. Therefore, in making any decision on an issue of fundamental justice, acting from the perspective of public reason by all, it will be possible to make legitimate law from the opinion of the majority. The legitimate law made will also be morally binding on all the citizens[5]. The argument presented leads to the deliberation that moral believe is the only enduring element of the society. As a result, avoiding the slippery slope to moral relativism from moral pluralism, then a stake must be made. This means that the society should have a fair procedure used in discussing and considering opinions regarding controversial issues in the society, whether social or political such as same-sex marriage. The idea of public reason conceived by Rawls offers the model for this kind of deliberation process. The support of Rawls’s conception of public reason in dealing with such issues, results from the realization that a society that is morally pluralistic comprises of numerous wide-ranging doctrines. As understood in this case and by Rawls, the comprehensive doctrines are characterized by a logically rational comprehension of the world[6]. These wide-ranging doctrines can either be secular or religious[7]. Thinking about the realism of moral pluralism is the basis for looking into debatable issues from the point of view of public reason. By Rawls and in real sense, moral pluralism is understandable through realizing that a society that is liberal is expected. This is a kind of society where humans are free to use their human conscience, have a diversity of beliefs and values and practice doctrines related to ethics and morality. Due to the limitations of human rationality, such diversity is the most permanent characteristic of the society. These limitations include what Rawls refers to as the “Burdens of Judgment.”[8] The burdens of judgment can be explained as comprising the usual dangers that must be encountered by all individuals who are reflective, and in the course of moral or political speculation. In any society that is diverse and characterized by various wide-ranging doctrines, some of them will be reasonable and acceptable. A comprehensive doctrine which is reasonable will also be rational from the point of view that it is consistent or coherent. On the other hand, a wide-ranging doctrine recognizing the burdens of judgment which are real in the choice of values and concepts can also be considered as reasonable. These kinds of comprehensive doctrines that are comprehensive are suggested to take time to evolve from the point of view of what, from its perspective and what it considered sufficient reason and good[9]. According to Rawls, a person is considered reasonable if he or she realizes and is ready to take up the outcomes of the burdens of judgment. Thus, such persons and who follow the comprehensive doctrines which are reasonable realizes the limitations on what is justifiable to other persons following other wide-ranging doctrines. While some people might not be satisfied with the limits, they are suggested to have intellectual honesty which requires them to accept these limits. In such a society which is characterized by reasonable pluralism, the public reason notion comes out as the most adequate mechanism for negotiating social and ethical dilemmas like same sex marriage. This idea of public reason requires that when the society is faced with such controversial issues which are associated with the rights of equal and free citizens, it is necessary that the issues are negotiated within the public sphere. This means that it is only within the public sphere that these issues can find answers and solutions, and for the endorsed solutions to gain public support[10]. The argument in this case is that in the public debating of such matters as same-sex marriage, it is important that the problem is not conceptualized as religious or secular comprehensive values. The only adequate way of conceptualizing such issues should be through the public debate suggested by Rawls, as it is the only way to come up with solutions with greater support from the public. Therefore, in a democratic society such as the United States, which is characterized by moral pluralism, religious or secular values should not be the basis for developing policies or legislative decisions. It has been suggested that there are few classes of political debates which can emanate from the perspective of public reason. Among the options is to come up with a sort of compromise from the public sphere and also from a public level. For example, this can be indicated from the argument in support of civil unions as the most plausible accommodation for the minority same-sex marriage upholding rights of marriage to couples that are heterosexual. However, this argument and compromise level has been dismissed as unsatisfactory. Besides the weaknesses inherent in this option, it has been dismissed basically because it is a position of compromise. Such positions have been suggested not to be stable and just as they tend to lean towards a specific direction[11]. As a result, in a just liberal democracy boils, the need for public reason is important as it boils down to alternatives between decisions at the federal or state level. Generally, state-by-state debates do not achieve much more than simply moving the matter being debated one step back in the debate process. Whether the issue is being debated at the federal or state level, there is the original question of how the debate should be carried out that will always remain[12]. In addition, the outcome of differing laws from state-to-state on the issue being debated appears unjustly impulsive. It is for the same reason that the debate surrounding same-sex marriage should not be done at the state, but the federal level. From this discussion, it appears that from the point of view of public reason, the accommodating answer proposed by appealing to civil liberties is the one that ought to be supported. It might appear unreasonable that failure to have reasonable public claims opposing same-sex marriages, that the state must recognize these kinds of marriages[13]. On the other hand, in the argument that in supporting whichever idea of marriage that is open to anyone, the state would be supporting justification of the public of a specific marriage definition, that is the comprehensive marriage definition which allows both heterosexuals and homosexuals to engage in marital unions[14]. This melts down to a public support for an all-inclusive marriage definition which, from the public reason point of view, is more suitable compared to the limited marriage definition as occurring between a man and a woman. From a serious consideration of the public reason, it leads to the notion of the same-sex marriage being legal which can be just as unjust as its prohibition. However, this cannot be avoided given the fact that it is not possible to actually envisage a definition of marriage which fails in some way to use the comprehensive idea of what is meant by the concept of marriage. Comprehensive doctrines, with no exception, are always bracketed in the decisions made within the public sphere from the public reason perspective[15]. Various questions are raised in the discussion of the application of comprehensive doctrines related to public reason. The most important question is that since the compromise position is dismissed as unstable, what would be meant by a just society from the point of view of public reason and in making decisions related to such issues as same sex marriage. The Marriage Privatization Model which is founded on the Rawlsian political approach is adequate in providing an explanation for policy making to address the issue of same-sex marriage. The Rawlsian approach to liberalism is the basis for the use of Marriage Privatization Model in explaining same-sex marriage provided the moral pluralism reality[16]. The argument opposed to same-sex marriage from the public reason is explained through this model. The argument is that no state in the world should endorse same-sex marriage. From the point of view of the model, the comprehensive doctrines can either support or oppose same-sex marriage. This is from the point of view of each having a differing conception of what marriage is. For example, the catholic religion might be completely opposed to a marriage between two persons from the same gender by arguing that a marriage is a union between a man and a woman[17]. On the other hand, some Episcopalian diocese might be acceptable to individuals of the same gender uniting in marriage. This is the question of debate based on the kind of comprehensive doctrine at play. The liberal legitimacy principle which supports the reasonable comprehensive doctrines freedom appears to argue that the state should not support or condemn any practice given the fact that the members of the society are exercising their freedom as dictated by their diverse doctrines. Defining the concept of marriage outside the comprehensive doctrines is not possible. Thus, from the point of view of public reason, the state can provide the justification for this by citing public reason in the case of marriage. The argument can be that it is appropriate to have civil unions that assure the rights of couples in any form of union, whether homosexual or heterosexual. Marriage should always be defined in a comprehensive manner. This means that there are some values that can be dismissed in support of others. This means that marriage is inherently connected to the wide-ranging doctrines and therefore, it is totally out of the actual public reason sphere. In the actual use of the public reason argument, any civil union will be endorsed, with all the associated rights as well as benefits. This means that the society would be completely open to all marriages including same-sex ones[18]. This suggests that there is no one who will be obligated to go against his or her comprehensive doctrine. For example, a catholic priest who is opposed to same-sex marriage will not be forced to unite, in marital union, same-sex couples. However, there should remain some form of freedom for the citizens to debate the issue based on their own comprehensive doctrines. This means that in whatever decision is made in relation to the issue of same-sex marriage, the voice of the citizens should be evident[19]. After all, the discussions related to such issues are doctrinal ones within whichever tradition. After all, the limitations in terms of reason from the perspective of the public reason are many. While from the point of view of the doctrine all the citizens would be considered free and equal, the divergences in comprehensive doctrines constrain this reality. Therefore, social issues that are contentious should be not be left in the public reason sphere, but should be protected at the private institution level without violating the rights of the citizens. Conclusion Therefore, the argument proposed in this case is that it is insufficient to completely use of the Rawls’ focus on public reason in the debate related to the issue of same-sex marriage. The state should not endorse any kind of civil union as the doctrine dictates. The state should not endorse marriages between individuals of the same gender, and to prevent this from happening, policies should be put in place at the state or federal level. This will prevent the various doctrines from dictating their own definitions of marriage. With such a policy in place, there will be equality in dealing with the issue of same-sex marriage, as well as a uniform ground for debating it. Therefore, in conclusion, such a decision made at the policy level is the most suitable in ensuring that there is no single comprehensive doctrine, secular or religious, is given more priority or inclination at the public level. It is necessary that all the people have a voice in deciding their civic rights and benefits in a democratic society such as the United States. BIBLIOGRAPHY Andrew Lister, How to Defend (Same-Sex) Marriage, 37 POLITY 409 (2005). Beyer Jason A. “Public Dilemmas and Gay Marriage: Contra Jordon” Journal of SocialPhilosophy (2002) 33:1 Dent Jr., George W. "Traditional Marriage: Still Worth Defending." BYU Journal Of Public Law 18, no. 2 (January 2004): 419-447. Dworkin Ronald, “Three Questions for America,” The New York Review of Books, (2006) Sept. 21, pp. 24-30 Gerstmann Eva N, “Same Sex Marriage and the Constitution” (Cambridge University Press, 2004) McLain Linda C. “Evolution—Or End—Of Marriage?: Reflections on the Impasse of Same-Sex Marriage” Family Court Review (2006) 44:2 200 Petrovic, J. E. (2013). Reason, Liberalism, and Democratic Education: A Deweyan Approach to Teaching About Homosexuality. Educational Theory, 63(5), 525-541. Posner, Richard A. "The problematics of moral and legal theory." Harvard Law Review 111, no. 7 (May 1998): 1637 Rawls John, Political Liberalism, (Columbia University Press 1993) Rawls John, Justice as Fairness: A Restatemen, (Harvard University Press, 2002) Reno, R. R. "THE PUBLIC SQUARE." First Things: A Monthly Journal Of Religion & Public Life no. 242 (April 2014): 3-7. Russell Bertrand, Sceptical Essays, (Routledge 2005) 1
[1] Gerstmann Eva N, “Same Sex Marriage and the Constitution” (Cambridge University Press, 2004) [2] Reno, R. R. "THE PUBLIC SQUARE." First Things: A Monthly Journal Of Religion & Public Life no. 242 (April 2014): 3-7. [3] Russell Bertrand, Sceptical Essays, (Routledge 2005) [4] Rawls John, Justice as Fairness: A Restatemen, (Harvard University Press, 2002) [5] Gerstmann Eva N, “Same Sex Marriage and the Constitution” (Cambridge University Press, 2004) [6] Petrovic, J. E. (2013). Reason, Liberalism, and Democratic Education: A Deweyan Approach to Teaching About Homosexuality. Educational Theory, 63(5), 525-541. [7] Petrovic, J. E. (2013). Reason, Liberalism, and Democratic Education: A Deweyan Approach to Teaching About Homosexuality. Educational Theory, 63(5), 525-541. [8] Rawls John, Political Liberalism, (Columbia University Press 1993) [9] Russell Bertrand, Sceptical Essays, (Routledge 2005) [10] Andrew Lister, How to Defend (Same-Sex) Marriage, 37 POLITY 409 (2005). [11] Rawls John, Justice as Fairness: A Restatemen, (Harvard University Press, 2002) [12] Posner, Richard A. "The problematic of moral and legal theory." Harvard Law Review 111, no. 7 (May 1998): 1637 [13] Beyer Jason A. “Public Dilemmas and Gay Marriage: Contra Jordon” Journal of Social Philosophy (2002) 33:1 [14] McLain Linda C. “Evolution—Or End—Of Marriage?: Reflections on the Impasse of Same-Sex Marriage” Family Court Review (2006) 44:2 200 [15] Dent Jr., George W. "Traditional Marriage: Still Worth Defending." BYU Journal Of Public Law 18, no. 2 (January 2004): 419-447. [16] Petrovic, J. E. (2013). Reason, Liberalism, and Democratic Education: A Deweyan Approach to Teaching About Homosexuality. Educational Theory, 63(5), 525-541. [17] Posner, Richard A. "The problematics of moral and legal theory." Harvard Law Review 111, no. 7 (May 1998): 1637 [18] Dent Jr., George W. "Traditional Marriage: Still Worth Defending." BYU Journal Of Public Law 18, no. 2 (January 2004): 419-447. [19] McLain Linda C. “Evolution—Or End—Of Marriage?: Reflections on the Impasse of Same-Sex Marriage” Family Court Review (2006) 44:2 200
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