Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Justice and Gay Marriage

 Justice Lecture 12 by Harvard University
Click here to view the video on youtube

This lecture debates same-sex marriage. When I watched this video, I found it difficult to view the subject as a set of core philosophical issues. I'm a lesbian and that identity and lived experience influences my views. I began to think a lot about the ideas of John Rawls. He believed that we should view questions of justice through a 'veil of ignorance'. You must imagine that all roles in society are redefined and you are completely unaware of who you are. I attempted to apply this logic to the question of same sex marriage and I imagined the issue from the position of someone who is not gay and is morally opposed to homosexuality. It was difficult to place myself in that position and understand their viewpoint; I recognize how difficult it must be for them to understand my own. Sometimes the only viewpoint you can offer is the attempt to understand. Understanding is also a wonderful viewpoint to share.

I then wanted to see the issue from both sides. I think the reason people don't accept gay marriage, isn't solely about the morality of homosexuality. I think the reason gay people fight for marriage, isn't completely about legal equality. Both opposing viewpoints contain a commonality; they both want others to conform to their perception of what a marriage should be. They also do this for the same reason; if the whole world conforms to your view of marriage, then your marriage will meet your expectations. There will be no need for you to compromise and both of you will automatically know what is required within the union. It sounds incredibly safe and secure. I can understand its appeal but it doesn't seem real. It doesn't include learning about the other persons needs. If you can understand differing perceptions of marriage and accept them even if they completely oppose your own, maybe you will be capable of a marriage that involves a higher understanding of your partner's needs and also your own. You may find yourself within a marriage that conforms to the people involved. Instead of a union where two people conform to a marriage.

Justice by Harvard University http://www.justiceharvard.org/
To read my thoughts on earlier lectures click on the label at the bottom of the blog that reads Justice by Harvard University.