Same-sex Marriages Prohibition Unjust; A ‘common good’ point of view

The laws surrounding same sex marriages all over the world differ from country to country and even today remains to be a debatable issue in regards to these laws being unjust when it comes to equality. One cannot acknowledge same sex marriages without linking it with the issues of religion and morality which causes such controversy because everyone has their own views. Although Canada has legalized same sex marriages across the country in July 2005 in relation to Canada’s Civil Marriage Act, there are still many other places in the world such as; Australia, India and even states in the USA that currently prohibit same sex marriages (Coorey, 2012). The matter of the fact is that same sex marriages is a phenomenon that affects people’s lives, social norms, and beliefs and as such should be universal across the world in regards to it being legalized. The fact that there are still places in the world that prohibit people to get together in matrimony regardless of their gender is unjust in itself. If we have come so far as a society in regards to eliminating the issue of race when it comes to matrimony than I question why is it an issue for two individuals to unite regardless of their sex? Over the years, more attention has been given towards the position that religion and morality plays in shaping the legal definition of marriage.  Some proponents of same sex marriages have proposed that religion is the primary obstacle to redefining marriage to include homosexual unions. With that being said, when these laws were enacted in places such as the United States and Canada—laws in these countries were influenced largely by religious values and norms. For example; for evangelical Protestants, if the bible scriptures suggest that homosexuality is a sin and an abomination, they consider it to be so without further explanations (Warner, 2010). Furthermore, the Roman Catholic Church bases its views on homosexuality also of biblical scriptures and takes into account of what Fuller and Finnis touch base on of “natural law”—which is contended to be a part of the eternal or divine law of the universe (Warner, 2010). In regards to the concept of homosexuality, for the Roman Catholics, the purpose of sex is procreation and is restricted to two people of the opposite gender who are married. “Good and moral sex occurs only within marriage… homosexuality, which cannot result in procreation, is unnatural and immoral” (Warner, 2010, p. 103). There issue of what is moral is one that boils down to religion when looking at it from a Roman Catholic view. With that being said these laws that were created to prohibit same-sex marriages were done at a point in which religion was placed on a higher level of importance rather than what may be, as Finnis suggest, important for the “common good”—including the seven principles Finnis describes that lead us to human flourishing and basic aspects of well-being (Pavlich, 2011). Finnis touches base in his seven basic forms of human flourishing that moral and legal rules must be enacted that meet the standards of practical reasonableness. The important aspect to this is now that our society has come a long ways in having more choices, stating opinions and having options—there in fact should be more reasonableness placed as societies are developing and embracing equality rights. Statistics show that between 2006 and 2011, the number of same-sex marriages doubled across Canada (Smith & Harris, 2012). If that is the case here in Canada, could one not apply that to bigger population in countries such as USA in where majority of the states still ban same sex marriages although there may be a more demand for same-sex marriage rights due to a higher population? In my opinion, the prohibition of same sex marriages in places around the world such as certain states in the United States, is unjust because it does lacks Finnis’ rule of “common good” and suppresses forms of human flouring, just as the Mixed Marriages Act, of sociability and friendship.

References

Coorey, M. (2012). Australian parliament rejects same-sex marriages. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved September 15, 2012 from http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/australian-parliament-rejects-same-sex-marriage/article4552991/

Messner, J. (2010). Religion and Morality in the Same-Sex Marriage Debate. Backgrounder, 2437, 1-6. Retrieved from http://report.heritage.org/bg2431

Pavlich, G. (2011). Law & Society Redefined. New York: Oxford University Press. 1-39.

Smith, T., Harris, M. (2012). Census: Gay couples are embracing marriages. The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved September 15, 2012 from  http://www.vancouversun.com/life/Census+couples+embracing+marriage/7267249/story.html

Warner, T. (2010). Losing Control; Canada’s Social Conservatives in the Age of Rights. Toronto: Between the Lines. 102-105.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Same-sex Marriages Prohibition Unjust; A ‘common good’ point of view

  1. Jon Jones

    Very interesting points. Well written!

  2. owlyson

    The issue in my opinion is that as a Christian we have been taught that man and woman come together in marriage to pro create. As much as I agree with the fact that we are being unjust when we judge and condemn people for choosing to be gay or lesbian we really need to look at the broader picture. If men marry men and women marry women how are they to pro-create? I understand that there are many children without families and adoption by two dads is better than a child having no dads. However, I also can understand the other side in that there have been many policy debates that heterosexual couples are inherently better parents than same-sex couples. My thought basically is this, since the rate of marriages doubled after the act was in place, what happens in the future when more and more people stop having children…what will happen to our world? Finally when looking at what Finnis states in his 7 basic form of human flourishing I can only see number one that stand out and that’s ” The valuing and transmission of life. Humans are made in two genders male and female and together they make a child. We are designed to pro-create. I feel as though allowing gay marriages stops the union of husband and wife and ultimately leads to the extinction of the human population… extreme I know but something to be aware of…

    • sgahunia

      Yes, I think you are right in regards to looking at it from a broader point of view but I think that there may be an answer to the concept of procreation coming from a scientific perspective. Many people who oppose in regards to extending the definition of “marriage” to include same-sex couples do so on religious grounds or because of moral objections to homosexuality. You bring up an interesting point in regards to looking at this phenomenon from a broader perspective and raise concern specifically in the area of pro-creation. With that being said marriage for decades has been considered an institution that is meant to support reproduction and there is no doubt about that (Somerville, 2003). If the definition of marriage is to emphasize on human reproduction, than how is one to justify couples that are married and decided to never have kids? Would the definition of marriage apply to them? Is it fair to allow them to have the status of marriage if they have no plans of reproducing? If so, than why not same-sex couples? Why are they different in this scenario? The only difference that is visible in this case is opposite-sex partner’s symbolize the potential for reproduction regardless if they plan to reproduce or not. Furthermore, the aspect of science is something that cannot be overlooked as I would like to call this a “scientific era” in which we live in today. With progression that has allowed scientist to basically create your own baby down to the small details (i.e. gender, eye color, hair color) through PGD (Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis) is just the beginning to creating babies synthetically (Stone, 2009). Moreover, advancements for fertility in regards to same-sex marriages has allowed for the creation of eggs from a male’s skin cells which are than reprogrammed into iPSC’s (Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells). Now that is quite the scientific achievement in regards to a male procreating life… both a sperm and an egg coming from one male (Carette, Pruszak, Varadarajan, Blomen, Gokhale, Camargo, Wernig, Jaenisch & Brummelkamp, 2010). However, this is not to overlook the idea that even though the embryos can be created by two men… the cells will still need to be placed into a surrogate mother to deliver the baby and even that will change through scientific development. With that being said as far as the institution of marriage being limited to pro-creation… one can argue that with the help of science, two same-sex couples can create life so I question the claim of the institution of marriage from a Christian perspective.

      References

      Carette, J. E., Pruszak, J., Varadarajan, M., Blomen, V. A., Gokhale, S., Camargo, F. D., Wernig, M., Jaenisch, R., & Brummelkamp, T. R. (2010). Generation of iPSCs from cultured human malignant cells. Journal of the American Society of Hematology, 115(20), 4039-4042. doi: 10.1182/blood-2009-07-231845

      Somerville, M., A. (2003). The Case Against “Same-Sex Marriage”. McGill Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law. Retrieved from http://www.marriageinstitute.ca/images/somerville.pdf

      Stone, G. (2009). Fertility Doctor Will Let Parents Build Their Own Baby. ABC News. Retrieved from http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=6998135&page=1

  3. This is a good post. You have presented a clear overview of the topic, and your engagement with the work of Finnis is effective. It is interesting to see that you have opted to use Finnis, rather than Fuller, to make your argument. Finnis, is, in fact, quite infamous in his opposition to homosexuality and same-sex marriage. He defends his opposition in part by referencing what he perceives as an essential link between heterosexual marriage, heterosexual intercourse, and procreation. He has spoken about a ‘marital good’ that is associated exclusively with heterosexual marriage. Critics have pointed out flaws in Finnis’ position on this. Indeed, unless we introduce something like the concept of an exclusive (and exclusionary) ‘marital good’, Finnis’ own philosophy of law seems to lead us towards the conclusion that the prohibition against same-sex marriage is unjust.