Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Getting Marriage Right

Marriage is a basic human right, but what is marriage?
Let me begin with a confession of sorts: I don’t really care what people do in the privacy of their bedroom. I don’t even care if same-sex marriage personally harms me. Perhaps it does; perhaps it doesn’t. What I do care about is getting marriage right; for if the state is going to be involved in the business of regulating marriage, then it has an obligation to do it correctly.

To get marriage right, we first need to know what marriage is and why it is subject to legal recognition in the first place. We cannot call a certain marriage policy unequal, unjust, or discriminatory unless you first know what the relevant criteria are for entering into a marriage. Every law makes distinctions, and simply because a particular law may exclude some does not mean that there is something inherently problematic about it. What matters is whether the basis on which they are excluded is a relevant one. Relevant to what? In this case, relevant to what marriage is supposed to be. The fundamental issue at stake, therefore, isn’t equal rights. I agree that marriage is a basic human right, but what is marriage?
Read more at FSUNews.

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