Essay, Pages 8 (1989 words)
In “Is It Wrong to Discriminate on the Basis of Homosexuality?” Jeff Jordan defends a ban on two main arguments that aim to justify discrimination against homosexuals, in the case of same-sex marriage. In his first argument, Jordan asserts his argument from conflicting claims in an attempt to resolve the ongoing public dilemma about same-sex marriage by accommodation. In the second argument, Jordan introduces the “no-exit” argument. This utilizes the principle that citizens must support a practice that they find morally or religiously acceptable.
Jordan never addresses the claim about the moral status of homosexuality in and of itself, but argues that, “The moral impasse generated by conflicting views concerning homosexuality, and the public policy ramifications of those conflicting views justify the claim that it is morally permissible, in certain circumstances, to discriminate against homosexuals.” (237)
The issue stems from the question Jordan asks saying, “Does homosexuality have the same moral status as heterosexuality?” (237) According to “Is It Wrong to Discriminate on the Basis of Homosexuality?”, “ The parity thesis contends that homosexuality has the same moral status as heterosexuality.
” (237) Even though I am against same-sex marriage, I agree with the parity thesis that it is wrong to discriminate against homosexuals solely based on sexual orientation. Jordan then proceeds to define the term “difference thesis”. “The difference thesis entails that there are situations in which it is normally permissible to discriminate against homosexuals.” (Jordan 237) I do not agree that there is ever a time when someone should be judged based on his or her sexuality.
As a follower of Christ, we are instructed to “judge not” in Luke 6:37 in the Bible.
Premise one states, “Homosexual acts between consenting adults harm no one.” (Jordan 238) This would be true if the act was done in private. If two individuals want to participate in this behavior and it harms no one, then it should be respected because they are not harming your or me, but they are harming themselves. If God had intended for the human race to indulge in both heterosexual and homosexual marriage, He would have designed our bodies to allow reproduction through both means and made both means of sexual intercourse healthy and natural. Homosexual anal intercourse carries a high risk of disease. This is recognized in Scripture where gay men are said to receive in their bodies the due penalty for their error (Romans 1:27). I have also previously read of studies that indicate that homosexual behaviors make men and women more vulnerable to disease and also decrease one’s lifespan.
David Boonin in “Same-Sex Marriage and the Argument from Public Disagreement” states that Jordan’s premise two, the claim that there is a public dilemma about same sex marriage, “Might seem to be the clearest and least problematic of all the premises of Jordan’s argument.” (248) In my opinion, I find this completely false. I think the reason same-sex marriage has not been sanctioned is because of the fact it is a huge public dilemma.
Premise four states that, “Discrimination against homosexuals, because of their homosexuality, diminishes individual freedom since it ignores personal choice and privacy.” (Jordan 238) This can only be true as with P1 in regards to consenting homosexual behavior in private. I agree with this statement because as I said before, we have been instructed not to judge others. Because of the parity thesis, we have no reason to believe that there are any circumstances in which homosexuality and heterosexuality are on equal moral ground.
Jordan proceeds to discuss moral impasses and public dilemmas. “An impasse is likely to have public policy ramifications if large numbers of people hold conflicting views, and the conflict involves matters fundamental to a person’s moral identity (and, hence, from a practical point of view, are probably irresolvable) and it involves acts done in public.” (239) A public dilemma can be resolved in two ways, but not every moral impasse constitutes a public dilemma. The two ways a dilemma can be resolved is through resolution by declaration and/or resolution by accommodation. I agree with Jordan that resolution by accommodation would be more preferred than resolution by declaration because the latter would involve a group of people being forced to live under a government that “legitimizes” activities that they find immoral.
A public dilemma is found when many religious people find homosexual acts morally wrong, yet many others do not. “The existence of this public dilemma gives us reason for thinking that the difference thesis is true.” (Jordan 240) This is because same sex marriage is a public matter. If the government were to sanction same-sex marriage, they would fall on one side of the public dilemma. Those with religious based morals would fall on the other side. If the practice of same-sex marriage changes, it would be evident that the government took the side of the impasse. Since the state has not sanctioned same-sex marriage, the resolution by accommodation is available; therefore, one is left to choose if they will participate in private homosexual acts. I agree with all the above, especially that it is a person’s choice if they engage in homosexual activities in private. Genesis 2:24 states: “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.” This verse is the reason that people take their religious standpoint on same-sex marriage, which results in the public dilemma.
“Since the strongest argument in support of the parity thesis fails, we have reason to think that there is no overriding reason why the state ought to resolve the public dilemma via declaration in favor of same-sex marriages.” (Jordan 241) One objection to Jordan’s argument is what David Boonin says in “Same-Sex Marriage and the Argument from Public Disagreement.” Boonin states, “I have argued that Jordan’s argument is unsound, and I have argued that it is subject to an important objection by reductio ad absurdum.” (251) It is unsound because it would allow discrimination against a practice that is now accepted but had previously been controversial. An example of this in Jordan’s essay is mixed-race marriages. Jordan then provides three responses to this objection.
“The first response denies that the issue of mixed-race marriages is in fact a public dilemma. It may have been so at one time, but it does not seem to generate much, if any, controversy today.” (Jordan 242) I have to disagree with this response because Boonin states, “In many communities in the South, at least, there remains substantial opposition to interracial dating, let alone interracial marriage.” (250)
Jordan’s second response says that mixed-race marriage is a public dilemma. This allows for resolution by declaration. I see a problem with this because Boonin explains that such a law would not discriminate against one single racial group. A law that banned mixed-race marriage would not discriminate against people on racial grounds because individuals of each race would still be free to marry another individual of his or her own race. A law that would ban same-sex marriage would discriminate sexual orientation.
A heterosexual man would be allowed to marry any member of the sex he is attracted to, but a homosexual man can only marry a member of a sex he is not attracted to. Vice versa, this means a heterosexual man is forbidden to marry a member of the same sex, and the homosexual man is forbidden to marry a member of the sex he is attracted to. It is apparent that the only group that would be affected by this is homosexuals. This shows that same-sex marriage is a dilemma that should be resolved using resolution by declaration, which does not apply to the issue of mixed-race marriage.
Jordan’s third response is, “That the ground of objection differ in the respective cases: one concerns racial identity; the other concerns behavior thought to be morally problematic.” (242) I do not agree with this response either because it is the act that a person performs that people object, not the individual’s identity. Boonin even says that, “It is not that they object to the identity of the individuals involved.” (251)
The “no exit argument” stems from the principle that, “No just government can coerce a citizen into violating a deeply held moral belief or religious belief.” (Jordan 243) It would be impermissible for a government to sanction same-sex marriages. An example of this is seen though employers having to provide health care benefits to spouses of their employees. If an employer feels same-sex marriage is immoral, they must still provide benefits to an employee’s same-sex spouse.
The employer is not granted an “exit right” that allows him or her to refrain from doing so; therefore, the employer is forced to do something he or she finds morally wrong. I agree with Jordan when he says that, “ The state morally could not sanction same sex marriage since this would result in coercing some into violating a deeply held religious conviction.” (Jordan 244) I agree with this because if I were an employer, I would not want to have to give benefits to an employee’s same-sex spouse since I find same-sex marriage morally wrong.
After having read “Is It Wrong to Discriminate on the Basis of Homosexuality?” by Jeff Jordan and “Same-Sex Marriage and the Argument from Public Disagreement” by David Boonin, I am firmer in my perspective that same-sex marriage is morally wrong. The leading force that has shaped my opinion about this issue is the Bible. The leading reason that makes me feel so strongly on this topic is the following. Homosexuality is an illicit lust forbidden by God. He said to His people Israel, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination” (Leviticus 18:22). “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them” (Leviticus 20:13). In these two verses, homosexuality is viewed as a prime example of sin. There are many other verses in the Bible that insist homosexuality is a sin and help improve my position on same-sex marriage. The “no exit” argument from “Is It Wrong to Discriminate on the Basis of Homosexuality?” also helped to keep my position against same-sex marriage firm.
The propagated myth, “all you need is love”, is not true. Marriage involves emotion, and I am sure some partners do have this for one another. The feelings homosexuals share are not enough for a marriage in God’s eyes. Just because two people have an incredible sense of emotion for each other does not mean they should act upon it. Like alcohol abuse or drugs, the powerful and addictive emotions linked to these are ultimately destructive. Same-sex marriages do not just revolve around emotion and love for one another. A marriage is interwoven with dozens of other lives; therefore, it is a social unit. If people in society do not agree with same-sex marriages, sex and passion is not enough to sustain an inherently unstable social unit.
Marriage to me is a union or contract between a man and a woman. The man and a woman are called spouses and they establish their own rights and obligations within their marriage. This union, which consists of interpersonal relationships, is formalized by a wedding ceremony. A marriage should be ordained by God, and it is a lifelong union between just one man and one woman. Marriage vows should be viewed as unbreakable, and through these vows, a partnership of love is made deeper through sex. There is an intrinsic connection between marriage and procreation. Marriage is the best setting for sex, which makes it the best setting for nurturing children. Because homosexuals cannot reproduce with the same sex, they cannot procreate. Since marriage is a union between one man and one woman, same-sex marriage conflicts with my purpose of marriage.