Same-Sex Marriage Revisited

by Harry on January 10, 2007

Thanks to everyone for the suggestions concerning anti-same-sex marriage readings for my contemporary moral issues course. I was quite nervous about the topic, because I anticipated very strong feelings among the students, especially because we discussed it in the wake of the entirely unsurprising to me but shocking to many of them success of the anti-same-sex-and-civil-unions amendment in November. I emphasized at the beginning of the segment that I wanted the full space of reasons to be explored, and encouraged them to look for both anti- and pro- arguments, and reminded them that when someone argues for a claim in class they should be taken just to be exploring a reason, so there should be no presumption that they are committed to an undesirable conclusion. All to no avail. Not one student was willing to speak up against same-sex marriage, despite the fact that an anonymous survey revealed that 15% of them are strongly opposed. Interestingly, and in my view rather optimistically, conversations that I had with a number of pro-same-sex-marriage students coming from the Wisconsin heartland revealed that their views were completely at odds with those of their parents (well, their fathers) but not those of their fellow high school students, including those who remained in the towns from which these students came. Is there good survey data about the distribution of opposition to same-sex-marriage across age groups?

I used Margaret Somerville’s The Case Against Same-Sex Marriage, Lee Harris’s The Future of a Tradition, and Stanley Kurtz’s The End of Marriage in Scandinavia. And the truth is that the case against same-sex marriage seems pretty weak, unless someone can come up with some much better papers. Fortunately, I had some disagreements with Ralph Wedgewood’s excellent pro-same-sex-marriage paper which we also used. But the anti-papers are not very strong at all. I’ll focus mainly on the Somerville paper, then make a couple of comments about the others.

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the new iMonolith mini

by John Holbo on January 10, 2007

Kieran’s quip that “They look like the apes in 2001 gazing at the monolith” becomes YouTube reality. And it’s rather brilliant that the device is showing Zoolander.

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