1. Religion & Spirituality
Send to a Friend via Email
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

Case For Same Sex Marriage: From Sexual Liberty to Civilized Commitment

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

By

Case For Same Sex Marriage

Case For Same Sex Marriage: From Sexual Liberty to Civilized Commitment

What exactly is marriage — is it an institution for one man and one woman to procreate or is it a patriarchal institution designed to perpetuate gender discrimination? Both claims are made by various people opposed to the legalization of gay marriage but neither is very sound. A much better argument can be made for the civilizing influence of gay marriage — on both gays and society generally.

Summary

Title: Case For Same Sex Marriage: From Sexual Liberty to Civilized Commitment
Author: William N. Eskridge
Publisher: Free Press
ISBN: 0684824043

Pro:
• Nice introduction to the history of gay marriage
• Interesting perspective on the “civilizing” aspect of marriage

Con:
• A bit dated by this point, but doesn’t suffer too badly

Description:
• Analysis of the legal, social, and historical status of gay marriages
• Argues that gay marriages are not new and that banning them is improper
• Explains how marriage can civilize both the couples involved and society as a whole

Book Review

The concept of “civilize” can be used in a number of different ways. It can have a narrow legal sense which refers to moving an issue from criminal to civil law; it can also refer to integrating something into a society’s laws or customs, and it can describe a process of making tame or domesticated. All of these meanings come into play in William N. Eskridge‘s book Case For Same Sex Marriage: From Sexual Liberty to Civilized Commitment.

Eskridge’s basic argument is that gay marriage is good for both gays and for society, an important consideration when most arguments in favor of gay marriage tend to focus just on need for gays to be granted equal rights. As Eskridge is able to demonstrate, there is more at stake here than just whether gays are treated equally. Denying them justice diminishes both them and the rest of the community, which means that this is something we should all care deeply about.

    “The states themselves advertise marriage as an institution fundamentally linked to political citizenship. Wisconsin’s marriage statute codifies the understanding of marriage that recurs in the case law: “Marriage is the institution that is the foundation of the family and of society. Its stability is basic to morality and civilization, and of vital interest to society and the state.” Consistent with this philosophy, the states are not discriminating about who can partake of this institution. It is open to any consenting nonrelated couple — except any lesbian or gay couple.”

Most people take marriage for granted. Almost everyone grows up assuming that they may be able to find the one true love of their lives and marry them — the idea of the state telling them they can’t marry the person they love simply doesn’t occur to them. Convicted felons, people still in prison, parents who don’t to pay child support, delinquent taxpayers, fascists, communists, child molesters, and murderers can all get married. Gays, however, cannot.

Case For Same Sex Marriage

Case For Same Sex Marriage: From Sexual Liberty to Civilized Commitment

There are a number of arguments offered for why gays shouldn’t be allowed to marry: homosexuality is unnatural, marriage exists for procreation, gay marriages will undermine the institution of marriage, etc. Eskridge examines each of these in turn and effectively refutes them, demonstrating that in almost every case the real reason is simple bigotry toward gays.

» Continue...

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.