Gay marriage and the consequences

Last updated 16:00 02/10/2012

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The above headline is deliberately provocative. It serves the sole purpose of appealing to a large audience, or at least I hope it does.

In either case this short piece is not deliberately provocative. The only advice I can give you if you do feel provoked is to not get angry, but even. If you do disagree all I ask is that you endeavour to explain why I am wrong.

I support gay marriage for the same reason it seems everyone else does. Above all marriage as an institution simply represents two people choosing to give their relationship that level of status. To exclude same sex relationships from this institution is quite obviously discrimination.

Sexuality in the context of marriage is arbitrary, there is no reason anyone should be excluded. This alone is reason enough to make a unarguable moral case for same sex marriage.

This argument has interesting consequences. The argument above, and it seems every argument I have seen or heard for same sex marriage preaches one basic principle, that it is not your sexuality that matters but 'love'.

I use inverted commas only because 'love' is not a fixed concept, it means something different to everyone.

The consequence of this argument is that if it is really love that matters, i.e love justifies same sex marriage, then it seems it is impossible for me to find a relevant moral distinction between same sex marriage and other marriages most would find prima facie immoral.

Take for example polygamy, if it is love that justifies same sex marriage the same reasoning could logically be used in that situation.

I'm not sure a three-person marriage, where each person marries the others, has happened but if love is involved prima facie it seems there is no reason the same sex marriage shouldn't apply.

An example people will likely find more morally repugnant is marriage between family members. Incest need not enter the equation as it is not a necessary consequence.

The real question then is whether there is a relevant moral distinction between any of these cases and same sex marriage given that we advocate for same sex marriage on the basis that it is love that matters.

It seems truly impossible to draw a distinction between the first two scenarios and same sex marriage in terms of moral justification.

The last seems more intuitively immoral but I still can't draw out a relevant moral distinction given the argument, it seems, we all use to advocate for same sex marriage.

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