The OU Philosophy Department hosted John Corvino from Wayne State University on Friday, speaking on “The Definition of Marriage.” In his talk, he identified one of the stronger objections to gay marriage — that it is equivalent to trying to draw a “square circle” — and pointed out some obvious weaknesses to that argument. Corvino’s points, while interesting in their own right, do a greater service in opening up the OU community to a discussion of the broader issues involved in the gay marriage debate.
What is marriage? What place does it serve in our society? We’re exposed to the institution so much in our daily lives that it’s easy to assume our common sense beliefs about it are clear and accurate. But when we start to disentangle these assumptions, we begin to see it’s not such an easy concept to define.
Marriage is the union of two people’s lives. But what’s the purpose of this union? Many would say that it’s a promise before God, but this definition is not the one used by our government, or else we’d see atheists and Buddhists being denied marriage licenses. So it must be a separate institution from civil marriage, with its own separate function. Many people would also point to reproduction as an important function of the union. Of course, a stable environment for child-raising has historically been a feature, often the most important feature, of marriage. But is that really all that is valuable about marriage? And where does that leave sterile couples, or those who choose not to have children?
Complete article at OU Daily : http://bit.ly/pWkOZB