I recently read Dr. Michael Sandel’s book “Justice” and was intrigued by his position on gay marriage.
“Can you decide whether the state should recognize same-sex marriage without entering into moral and religious controversies about the purpose of marriage and the moral status of homosexuality? Some say yes, and argue for same-sex marriage on liberal, nonjudgmental grounds: whether one personally approves or disapproves of gay and lesbian relationships, individuals should be free to choose their marital partners. To allow heterosexual but not homosexual couples to get married wrongly discriminates against gay men and lesbians, and denies them equality before the law.
If this argument is a sufficient basis for according state recognition to same-sex marriage, then the issue can be resolved within the bounds of liberal public reason, without recourse to controversial conceptions of the purpose of marriage and the goods it honors. But the case for same-sex marriage can’t be made on nonjudgmental grounds. It depends on a certain conception of the telos of marriage — its purpose or point. And, as Aristotle reminds us, to argue about the purpose of a social institution is to argue about the virtues it honors and rewards.
The debate over same-sex marriage is fundamentally a debate about whether gay and lesbian unions are worthy of the honor and recognition that, in our society, state-sanctioned marriage confers. So the underlying moral question is unavoidable.”
If you accept this, then it becomes a question of morals for both sides. Now anyone who wants to can check out John Paul II’s Theology of the Body and mount a strong defense for the Church’s position of homosexuality. But what I would like to do is to flip the argument a bit. There are several Catholics on these forums who do not accept the Church;'s teachings. I notice the forums they participate on often get closed because of the heated arguments that ensue.
If we can lose the heat for a moment, may I enquire that if you were to mount a moral argument for homosexuality, what would it involve? Granted the following is a tad obtuse but here is the question in all its philosophic neatness (as posed by Fr. Jose Noriega):
"The originality of the moral perspective consists in locating homosexual inclinations and behavior in relation to the human telos, the ultimate perfection to which each person is called, and in trying to evaluate the “goodness” of the inclination and behavior from this angle.
Within this framework, we can appreciate the density of the fundamental question that will guide our reflection: Can homosexual behavior and the inclination at its origin be ordered toward the good life, a life that is complete, fulfilled, and happy?"
Now Church teachings answer that but many of you seem to think differently. But to broaden it out, where is the goodness of homosexuality as you see it?
I look forward to your response and any who would like to support me as I attempt to play devil’s advocate (actually God’s advocate, if I could be so brash) for some of what is generated here.
A more complete statement of the problem (in the context of the Prop 8 Controversy) is here: