The utilitarian conservative case against gay marriage Earlier this month, The Australian published an article advocating more equal treatment of gay Australians.
Whatsapp The recent not-so-surprising move by acting Labor leader Tanya Plibersek to remove the Labor conscience vote on same-sex marriage indicates dislike at best and contempt at worst for free, open and robust civil debate in this country.
Others across history have attempted to short-circuit and curtail public debate by dressing up their own positions as "neutral" and "obvious" while exposing others as irrelevant, irrational and self-serving.
People who actually think seriously on both sides of this issue, however, realise that brute political fiat is neither a substitute for nor a supplement to actual argument. This is why it was so ironic that one of the most recent attempts to provide such an "ethical" argument in favour of same-sex marriage also played out so poorly.
Usually relegated to first year undergraduate classrooms, it was refreshing to see The Conversation feature an article last week bringing these three diverse and fascinating traditions of moral reflection into conversation about an issue everyone is talking about - same-sex marriage.
Liam Miller, researcher in "the philosophy of play" at the University of Queensland, wanted to avoid getting caught in the "nitty gritty details" of theory and so sought to give a few "widely grossed generalisations" about each ethical theory to see where each would stand on "marriage equality.
Since Miller is the first to admit that his analysis "barely scratches the surface," it is worth digging a little deeper; doing so, we find that the "unanimous agreement" ends up being playfully weak or even disingenuous. Setting aside the well-known and to-this-day interminable difficulties utilitarians face in identifying and defining and then balancing equivocal "benefits" and "harms," Miller asserts that utilitarians would favour same-sex marriage because the "direct benefits" to same-sex couples of being eligible to marry obviously outweigh the only "indirect harms" that "some people" might experience from having their conception of marriage "hurt.
But what if we consider other benefits and harms, like the benefit to children of being brought up by their own mother and father in a committed and loving marriage, and the risk that further tinkering with marriage will reduce the chances of children having that advantage?
Notwithstanding the diversity of contemporary parenting, most would agree that, all things considered, there is a great good achieved by that cross-cultural institution that seeks to bring men and women together as husbands and wives, to be father and mother to any children that their acts of love bring into the world - the institution we used to call "marriage.
Deontology Deontology is a theory commonly associated with the work of the German philosopher Immanuel Kant. Despite being "almost the exact opposite of utilitarianism," Miller does a bit of "hey presto" and, sure enough, it favours exactly the same conclusion as utilitarianism - and Miller himself.
If not everyone can vote - for instance, those under 18, those not enrolled, those in prison, those not yet citizens - does it follow that the whole thing is immoral and democracy a form of racism? Twentieth-century virtue ethicists tended to focus less on particular norms and actions, and more on the character traits of a good person and a good life.
Despite the general dissatisfaction that virtue ethics is supposed to have with clear cut, rule-based approaches, Miller asserts they have at least one moral absolute here - "the virtuous person would have an unwavering desire to promote love in all its forms" - and, yet again, the same-sex marriage rabbit is brought out of the hat.
The deployment of virtue ethics in public policy is often vacuous and circular: Yet all serious accounts of the virtuous person or life, at least until recently, would have regarded privileging the desires of adults over the needs of children as lacking in virtue.
So too, virtue ethics would have traditionally regarded a person who treated like cases alike and different cases differently as just and virtuousbut the person who treated all cases alike as unjust and vicious.
Natural Law Despite the flaws here identified, Miller is to be commended for bringing into discussion three major traditions of ethical thinking "that have been developed over the last 2, years.
According to this long tradition, which includes ancient Greek and Roman pagans Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and Cicero, to name a fewearly Jewish and Christian believers the prophets of Israel through to Augustine and Thomas Aquinas and other contemporary practitioners like John FinnisRobert P.
GeorgeJohn Haldane and Alexander Prussby "using just a little bit of our reasoning skills" we can grasp certain ends as good, inherently fulfilling and worth protecting and cherishing.
One of those goods is the marriage between a man and a woman. Despite being from widely different cultures, times and places, all these thinkers recognised three fundamental truths that called for a universal response: Marriage was their resoundingly clear and unanimous answer to regularising that reality.
He is completing a research masters in philosophy at the University of Notre Dame Australia. Related Brute political fiat is no substitute for critical thinking, drawing on all the philosophical, ethical and cultural resources we can bring to bear.
This is certainly true for same-sex marriage.of marriage. Secondly, and more generally, they worry that the Church’s changing stance utilitarianism, the view that we assess the normative status of individual actions directly rather than by reference to moral rules.
For the act utilitarian moral rules, while. The most frequent reason I hear people supporting same-sex marriage is that they know some gay couples or individuals. Dr.
Kenneth Howell Email: Utilitarianism v. represent the views of.
Gay Marriage - Pros and Cons - Download as Word Doc .doc /.docx), PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read online. An ethical essay approach on . However, in this paper I plan to use utilitarianism to defend the view that gay marriage is morally permissible because of the fact that gay marriage, for all parties personally involved, tends to maximize overall.
Gay Marriage is a union between two men or two women, allowing them to have the exact same set of legal rights as those possessed by heterosexual spouses.
Homosexual is characterized by or involving sexual attraction felt by a person for another person of the same sex. Utilitarian View on Same-Sex Marriage The Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges from which granted same sex couples the right to marriage is one that can be argued for very successfully from both a stance of accepting/encouraging individuality and from a stance of utilitarianism.