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Ethics

Mariana- Gay Marriage

gaymarriage

Is it ethical to prevent  gay marriage?

Lately, when my little sister goes to bed and I can watch programs other than “Curious George” or “Dora,” I have been bombarded with ads on gay marriage. At first I was puzzled as to why they were showing those ads, seeing as Canada has already legalized same-sex-marriage, and then I realized they were from the USA. States were voting on whether or not to allow gay marriage.

Everyone had an opportunity to vote for or against. It puzzled me. How would a, let’s say 20 year old heterosexual man, be affected by two women marrying each other? Is it right for him to be able to vote against gay marriage?

Ethics I believe are very personal. There are bases which can be considered universal, such as killing is bad and sharing is good. However in the end, they are just ideas create by people, by society. That makes ethics very subjective and ever-changing. Everyone has different opinions on what is right or wrong. Even killing can have multiples shades of grey. What if it was in self-defense? What if the person was dying in a slow painful process?

However how many shades of grey does gay marriage have?

Personally I always recall what my father used to tell me about freedom when I was younger: Your freedom ends, where other’s freedom begins. The moment an action stops affecting only me and can affect others negatively, then I should go by what the majority (through the form of our laws) has decided is best. That is the way I think about ethics as well, and I can see how someone voting against gay marriage can have negative repercussions for many.

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I find it frustrating how our society seems to move forward and backward throughout the centuries. Previously there was racial segregation, it was not illegal for Caucasians and non-Caucasians to marry in many places but definitely frowned upon. Through how many types of division in our society do we have to go through, how many movements, before we accept that we are all different and creating discrimination only hampers the development of our society as a whole?

Marriage is an action that may seem very natural, yet it is not. It is just a ritual created by our society. As I grew up the idea taught to me was that marrying was what couples should do after they have been together for a (usually) long period of time. However it did not used to be. Marriage used to be about politics, moving up in society, how many oxen your daughter is worth.

From my stand point there is no thing as traditional marriage. Our history is filled with all sorts of different unions. During the time of the Greeks and Romans homosexuality was seen as natural. Around the world polygamous unions were natural as well. Catholics especially surprise me. Catholic is supposed to mean Universal. That would lead me to believe that they would try to include as many people as possible, not exclude them. Yet they are often one of the strongest protesters against same-sex marriage. “A traditional marriage is between a man and a woman.” Perhaps that is their tradition, however that does not mean that it is wrong for two men or two women to marry. What gives them the power to help decide how two people should lead their lives? It seems to come down to freedom. Freedom to choose. They may have the best of intentions, simply using their own freedom of expression to voice their opinion on gay marriage. To me, it feels as offensive as a racist joke.

Right and wrong. Is it right to hamper someone’s happiness just because they do not reach it the way someone else thinks they should?

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Discussion

8 thoughts on “Mariana- Gay Marriage

  1. Mariana,

    To start with, I didn’t include the “gay marriage issue” in this comment, because I believe the argument is about something different. As you said, “Ethics I believe are very personal”. And using that exact quote, I shall show the other side of the issue.

    The logic you argue with is assuming that the philosophical premise you are working from is “right”. That premise would be, that “Your freedom ends, where other’s freedom begins”. This philosophy is common in our society – that as long as it does not hurt or affect others, then it should be okay. For that reason, you lead to conclude “Is it right to hamper someone’s happiness just because they do not reach it the way someone else thinks they should?”

    To question your logic would be bad, because you’re rock solid in your logic. But your premise is what’s up for debate.

    The problem that a lot of issues (that often involve religion) is this: There are people who don’t follow that personal philosophy.

    And that’s where people respond with “well, that’s just wrong, that’s just immoral to define what’s right for others”

    But by saying that, isn’t it a tad hypocritical? You are also saying that the philosophy you are following is better than others, and that “its the right one”?

    Just some thoughts – do you get what I’m saying?

    Posted by JonathanToews | December 11, 2012, 12:50 am
    • That does seem to be an issue. Jonathan you raise an interesting point on a complex and controversial issue.

      And if we are just making up values as individuals or societies it leaves me wondering why sexism, racism and discriminating against homosexuals are really wrong. Because it is bad for individuals and society? Well, people did and still do make that argument for the opposite position.

      Are those people wrong? Says who? And why?

      I’m just being the devils advocate 😉

      Interesting and important. Good job guys!

      Chris

      Posted by Chris Price | December 11, 2012, 3:16 am
  2. Well the part that I struggled in my post was that as I said we all have freedom of speech, so even if what is said is hurtful and offensive, it is stating an opinion. It becomes a different issue though when it can control part of someones life.

    Rather than wrong or right, I find it unfair that someone can decide with the power of a vote whether someone can marry or not.

    I find that it is not hypocritical. The two philosophies are very distinct. One will affect others while the other does not.

    I see your point on not everyone has agrees with “Your freedom ends, where other’s freedom begins.” Yet I’m not saying it is wrong to define what one believes it is right, however imposing it is very different.

    I would ask you to think also about “Law and Order” (not the tv show the actual words.) Countries create a set of laws, boundaries per say, to try and ensure order. What I am questioning is if those boundaries are set in the right place right now.

    Really who is to say anything is wrong? Better yet, what is wrong right now? It is constantly changing. There was a time in which it was not wrong for people to be enslaved, now it is most definitely considered wrong. It is also illegal to for someone to be fired because of their ethnicity. A line needs to be drawn somewhere and it is unlikely that it will be drawn in a place that makes everyone happy.

    I am trying to defend that in this case if could be drawn in a place that would make many happy and leave others to live the lives they want. Is it right of me to say this? I would say it’s at least not wrong.

    Posted by 113marianag | December 11, 2012, 4:06 am
    • Hah! You fell right into the trap. But thank you for the thoughtful response! 🙂

      You see, you did exactly what I pointed out there – you said:

      {“I find that it is not hypocritical. The two philosophies are very distinct. One will affect others while the other does not.

      I see your point on not everyone has agrees with “Your freedom ends, where other’s freedom begins.” Yet I’m not saying it is wrong to define what one believes it is right, however imposing it is very different.”}

      By saying that, you are saying that the philosophy that does not affect others is right, while philosophies that do affect others are fundamentally wrong. What you’re doing is putting them on a hierarchy. That one is better than the other, because of the ideals within it. On a personal level, obviously you would do that! But to say that that philosophy is better IS, in fact, hypocritical.

      As Chris said, this is a very complex and controversial level. What you need to do is step back and look at the big picture though. Remove the lens you’re looking through, and see them as two different philosophies. You may think that one is better than the other, but does that mean it is? The argument you’re presenting goes something like this:

      My philosophy is right, therefore a) My philosophy is right or b) The other philosophies are right
      Of course, the answer is obvious. But if you took that initial lens off

      a) My philosophy is right or b) The other philosophies are right

      What I’m trying to say is that the ideals within in a philosophy cannot be used to justify the ‘correctness’ of a philosophy in comparison to others.

      Posted by JonathanToews | December 11, 2012, 5:28 am
      • Okay I see your point. But that arises another question: How do you evaluate the different philosophies?

        What I was also trying to defend is that though we all have different philosophies there needs to be one we go by, or else what do we do when they clash?

        Posted by 113marianag | December 11, 2012, 5:43 am
        • You’ve identified exactly the problem: which philosophy is right? It seems that over time, the binding philosophy which humanity has followed has been that which reflects society’s views…the most. Of course, as we become a more diverse global society, with more developed philosophies, this becomes harder and harder. I think the reason you might have defended a “do-what-you-want-as-long-as-it-doesn’t-harm-others” philosophy is because that is the current state of our society today – and it is adopted by the majority with such certainty that little question it. After all, it does possess a wealth of logic to back it up – yet, just because a philosophy is logical, it doesn’t mean it is right, does it?

          What do you think? How should we govern and choose the philosophies we live by, and what philosophies are right and wrong?

          Posted by JonathanToews | December 11, 2012, 6:26 am
          • Well no matter what my answer is it will still be subjective. Anything I bring, be it my opinion or an example of what has been done, is done by humans.. It’s the same problem my group encountered when trying to define opinion, belief and knowledge. Even if say something is true, it’s only true right now, at the best of chances..

            How can we prove that something is truly right or wrong? We can only perhaps prove that it is wrong for ourselves. Anything we use to justify is still based on someone’s decision of how much proof and what kind of proof is enough.

            Personally I believe we should go with the philosophy of the majority, not because it is right or wrong but simply because it does seem to make more sense. Then we can use our freedoms to try and convince others of our philosophies. It doesn’t make it right, but it doesn’t make it wrong. Besides we need to choose something, so why not the one that has the most logic behind it?

            Still, anything governed by people will never be perfect or 100% right…

            Posted by 113marianag | December 11, 2012, 8:01 pm

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