Same-sex marriages: Viewpoints and Theories

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Each individual's journey through life is unique. Some will make the journey alone, others in loving relationships-maybe in marriage or other forms of commitment. We need to consider our own choices and try to understand the choices of others. Love has many shapes, forms, and colors, yet many people have a hard time coming to that realization. On November 18, 2003, Massachusetts' highest court declared that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marriage, becoming the first nation to declare this. Many people, both in favor of and against this decision, were interviewed and spoke out as to why they feel how they feel. The real question this article poses is, should same-sex couples have the same rights to marriage as opposite-sex couples? There are many different viewpoints and theories related to this ethical dilemma, which include egoists, social contract theory (Thomas Hobbes), consequentialist and utilitarian beliefs, Immanuel Kant and deontological ethics, and virtue ethics. Each viewpoint and system of belief differs from another, yet they all make very strong, convincing points.

Egoists only do what would be in their own best interest to do. They believe that by acting selfishly, one creates a better world. Based on these and many other beliefs of theirs, they would be absolutely one hundred percent against same-sex marriages. Same-sex marriages only really benefit those individuals getting married so there is no rational reasoning as to why egoists would support this decision and they don't. It is no direct benefit to society or anybody else involved and therefore egoists would not be in favor of this. They are not gaining anything by this Massachusetts' highest court decision. Also, this court aided gays and lesbians in many ways. They are making a statement to the world, really, that same-sex couples have the same rights and opportunities as opposite-sex couples by passing this law. Egoists would be one hundred percent against this because they believe that altruism, unselfish concern for others, is bad and demeaning. They feel that the state of Massachusetts has lessened homosexuals and placed these individuals at the mercy of society by helping them out and this is a huge wrong-doing according to egoists. Everyone should control their own selves and do things for only themselves and no one else. By helping out others, one is not only demeaning them, but also taking the risk that what they're doing for them could be done wrong. There are no reasons as to why an egoist would ever be in favor of this Massachusetts decision.

Another strong ethical belief is one by a very famous and well known social contract theorist, Thomas Hobbes. Hobbes would be in favor of this recent same-sex marriage decision. He came up with the idea of a social contract theory and this theory involves the idea that all people are equal. If all people are equal, then everyone, regardless of their age, race, culture, or sexual preference, should be permitted to take advantage of the all of their constitutional rights, including the right to marriage. Hobbes also believed that people couldn't be trusted to peacefully co-exist with one another without a government. With no form of government everyone would be living in the "state of nature" and life in the state of nature is nasty, brutish, and short. The Massachusetts government made the decision to legalize same-sex marriages. They became involved and made a drastic change in today's society in a further attempt to make everyone equal. Hobbes would love to see more drastic decisions like these being made every day.

A third extremely valued ethical belief comes from those of consequentialists and utilitarians. Two famous and well known consequentialists are Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mills. When it comes to homosexuality, they believe that it is happiness or pleasure and unhappiness or displeasure alone that determines the morality of it. The sexual practice or relation...
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