Contemporary Ethical Issues
Critical Evaluation Paper
Gay/ homosexual marriage has always been a popular debate. It provokes the thoughts and beliefs of almost every person, straight or gay. Some jump to religion as a means of attack, while some use ethics as a means of defense. 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 happiness. Obviously not everyone will be for this way of thinking, which is why I thought of three possible objections that gay marriage could face. The three that I came up with that the moral issue of gay marriage could face are deontology, religion, and the idea that homosexual relationships would ruin the sanctity of marriage.
As I said earlier, gay marriage is obviously a very pressing debate at the moment. Currently, Facebook users can see a picture (red background and white = sign) being used as the “profile picture” of many. The premise behind it is equality for all people regardless of your gender, sexual orientation, race, etc. The issue of gay marriage does not necessarily stem from the idea of two people of the same sex being together, rather, the opinions and views of others. I can think of a movie and 2
music video that best exemplify this concept. In the movie, “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry,” there is a scene where a homosexual event is interrupted by a protest of people claiming that their way of life was incorrect. The protestors were stating nothing more than a childish argument of, “we are right and you are wrong.” Most people have mindsets exactly like this with opinions not really formulated off of anything substantial. The music video that I was referring to is of a song called “Make it Stop” by the band, Rise Against; you see three kids ranging from 16-18 being harassed over what gender they are interested in. In my opinion the issue arises from close mindedness of some people and the unwillingness to accept new ideas and ways of life. The close-mindedness of children is also exemplified in adults when the idea of being gay then turns into gay marriage. Thomas Jefferson once said that we are all born with, “the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” (Quotes). With these three concepts in mind, one could say that people’s liberties are being infringed on and their rights being violated. We as the governing body are in the wrong because we are violating our duties, decreasing happiness, and causing more harm than good.
I feel as though the theory of Utilitarianism is the perfect philosophic theory to defend gay marriage. Utilitarianism is defined by Merriam-Webster as being an, “ethical principle according to which an action is right if it tends to maximize happiness, not only that of the agent but also of everyone affected” (Utilitarianism). Basically I believe that the utilitarianism theory says that if a state of happiness is 3
being achieved by the act in question, then it is acceptable. Being applied back to my thesis, gay marriage is something that would maximize happiness for more than just the two people in the marriage. In the text we were assigned to read when discussing Utilitarianism, Mill stated, “The creed which accepts as the foundation of morals ‘utility’ or the ‘greatest happiness principle’ holds that actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness; wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness” (Mill). Family, friends, and others who may not even be homosexual but simply happy for the people in the marriage can gain a certain level of happiness themselves from it all. I know that personally I love seeing my friends happy because it can produce the same feeling in me. The first of the three possible objections that I felt could be made towards gay marriages is deontology. I had the chart that listed all of...
Cited: Utilitarianism, . N.p.. Web. 14 Apr 2013. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/utilitarianism>.
Quotes-Thomas Jefferson. N.p.. Web. 14 Apr 2013. <http://www.fightthebias.com/Quotes/thomas_jefferson.htm>.
LoveToKnow Corp., . N.p.. Web. 14 Apr 2013. <http://www.yourdictionary.com/deontology>.
Mill, J. S.. N.p.. Web. 14 Apr 2013. <http://www.gutenberg.org/files/11224/11224-h/11224-h.htm>.
Sanctity. N.p.. Web. 14 Apr 2013. <http://sites.psu.edu/civicissue/2013/01/24/gay-marriage-will-destroy-the-sanctity-of-marriage/>.
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