Debating Same-Sex Marriage by John Corvino

By John Corvino

Polls and election effects convey american citizens sharply divided on same-sex marriage, and the debate is not going to subside every time quickly. Debating Same-Sex Marriage presents an critical roadmap to the continued debate. Taking a "point/counterpoint" procedure, John Corvino (a thinker and famous homosexual recommend) and Maggie Gallagher (a nationally syndicated columnist and co-founder of the nationwide association for Marriage) discover basic questions: what's marriage for? Is sexual distinction necessary to it? Why does the govt. sanction it? What are the consequences of same-sex marriage for kid's welfare, for non secular freedom, and for our figuring out of marriage itself? whereas the authors disagree on many issues, they percentage the next conviction: simply because marriage is a crucial public establishment, this factor merits a complete, rigorous, considerate debate.

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63 I don’t mean to be glib, but from the premise Children on average do best with their own married biological parents THE CASE FOR SAMESEX MARRIAG E | 49 to the conclusion We should not allow same-sex couples to marry there are a lot of missing steps. Indeed, more like entire missing staircases. I have yet to see any marriage-equality opponents fill in those missing staircases. Most do not even bother to try. One immediate problem is that allowing people to marry is different from declaring that it would be ideal for them to raise children.

I should digress for a moment to say a bit more about “civil unions” and other attempts to provide same-sex couples a legal status similar but not identical to marriage. “Civil union” was a term invented by the state of Vermont in 2000 in order to give same-sex couples the statewide legal incidents of marriage without using the word “marriage”; since then, a handful of other states have followed suit. Civil unions do not include the (very important) federal legal incidents of marriage—such as social-security and tax benefits, spousal privilege, immigration rights, and so on—they are not portable across state lines (except to jurisdictions that explicitly recognize them), and they do not include the less tangible but crucially important nonlegal incidents of marriage—the history, significance, and social currency of the institution.

These objects exist (we are supposing), and “square balls” is a handy term for them. In a similar way, committed same-sex unions exist, and “marriage” is a handy term for them. What’s the problem? Conservative writer Robert H. Knight has tried to explain the problem with an analogy: “When the meaning of a word THE CASE FOR SAMESEX MARRIAG E | 29 becomes more inclusive, the exclusivity that it previously defined is lost. For instance, if the state of Hawaii decided to extend the famous—and exclusive—‘Maui onion’ appellation to all onions grown in Hawaii, the term ‘Maui onion’ would lose its original meaning as a specific thing.

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