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Just MarriedSame-Sex Couples, Monogamy, and the Future of Marriage$
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Stephen Macedo

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780691166483

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691166483.001.0001

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Gay Rights and the Constitution of Reasons

Gay Rights and the Constitution of Reasons

(p.19) Chapter 1 Gay Rights and the Constitution of Reasons
Just Married

Stephen Macedo

Princeton University Press

This chapter considers the main arguments raised by conservatives against same-sex marriage and gay rights more generally. Defenders of same-sex marriage acknowledge the fact that marriage is in many ways a conservative institution. Libertarians, liberationists, and some liberals doubt that marriage is fair given the diversity of people's conceptions of meaning and value in life. Many adopt an unnecessarily critical posture toward civil marriage. This chapter offers a sympathetic account of marriage that recognizes the importance for many people of marital commitment while also honoring, and indeed helping to secure, the equal liberty and fairness prized by liberals. It shows that the debate over gay rights has been shaped by the repeated articulation of a demand for public reasons and evidence to justify the shape of the law touching on gay rights and marriage. The demand for reasons was laid down by the dissenters in Bowers v. Hardwick (1987).

Keywords:   conservatives, same-sex marriage, gay rights, marriage, civil marriage, equal liberty, fairness, liberals, public reasons, Bowers v. Hardwick

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