Five Reasons why Margaret Somerville is Wrong about Same-Sex Marriage and the Rights of Children

Dialogue 48 (4):867 (2009)
ABSTRACT: In written work and a lecture at the 2008 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences that was co-sponsored by the Canadian Philosophical Association, Margaret Somerville has claimed that allowing same-sex marriage is unethical because doing so violates the inherently procreative function of marriage and thereby undermines the rights and duties that exist between children and their biological parents. In my paper, I offer five reasons for thinking that Somerville’s argument for this conclusion is unpersuasive. In each case her argument either begs important questions about same-sex marriage or else relies on insufficient evidence to justify excluding a vulnerable minority group from participating in a state-sponsored social institution. RÉSUMÉ: Dans ses écrits ainsi que dans une conférence prononcée en 2008 au Congrès de la Fédération canadienne des sciences humaines, coparainnée par l’Association Canadienne de Philosophie, Margaret Somerville a prétendu que les mariages entre personnes de même sexe sont éthiquement inacceptables parce qu’ils violent la fonction primordiale du mariage, à savoir la procréation, et qu’ainsi ils portent atteinte aux droits et responsabilités qui lient les enfants et leurs parents biologiques. La présente communication se propose d’offrir cinq raisons pour lesquelles le point de vue de Margaret Somerville ne saurait convaincre. Dans chaque cas, sa pensée soit ne tient pas compte d’importantes questions soulevées par le mariage entre personnes de même sexe soit se fonde sur des prémisses inadéquates dans le but de faire interdire à une minorité vulnérable l’accès à une institution sociale garantie par l’État
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DOI 10.1017/S001221730999045X
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Reginald Williams (2011). Same-Sex Marriage and Equality. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 14 (5):589-595.
Benjamin A. Gorman (2004). Brief Refutations of Some Common Arguments Against Same-Sex Marriage. American Philosophical Association Newsletter on Philosophy and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues 4 (1):13-15.

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