The Verdict of Reason

The Verdict of Reason

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Part I of The Verdict of Reason proves beyond doubt that there is a rational basis for opposition to gay marriage. Marriage is a form of legal self-binding, but we do not recognize all forms of legal self-binding. We do not grant present selves absolute power over future selves. In deciding what forms of self-binding to recognize, tradition and telos, or our conceptions of the nature of peculiar human flourishing, should guide us. In particular, part of the human telos is procreation. In deciding whether to recognize marriage, we must weigh the advantages of letting people bind themselves against the loss of autonomy future selves suffer. While some of the reasons to favor straight marriage, such as love and economic interdependence, cross-apply to gay marriage, others, such as tradition and procreation, do not. The case for legally recognizing marital self-binding by straight couples is therefore stronger than the case for recognizing marital self-binding by gay couples, and it may reasonably be held that the advantages of marital self-binding are sufficient to justify the reduction of personal autonomy in the case of straight couples, but not in the case of gay couples. Gay marriage is also likely to encourage gay adoption, which evidence suggests is suboptimal for children, and it may prove problematic for public finance, since gays view marriage as more optional than straights do and are therefore likely to opt in and out of it for tax benefits. For these and other reasons, courts which have overturned democratically enacted laws on the grounds that they lack qrational basisq have acted in an indefensible manner. Part II of The Verdict of Reason makes the case for qmarriage realism, q the view that marriage is not a mere social construct but a reality rooted in human nature, and in particular in the selfish genes. Across cultures and historical epochs, marriage has always been a publicly-acknowledged relationship binding a woman to a man such that sex can occur between them without dishonor to the woman. This is the script for marriage written in the selfish genes. Basic features of marriage such as cohabitation, fidelity, and permanence have their fundamental explanation in male-female complementarity and the asymmetric desires and jealousies that the sexes need to have to sustain evolutionary equilibrium. The behavioral content of same-sex relationships differs empirically from that of straight couples, and there is no reason either to expect or to wish that it should converge, because they face different genetic incentives. Even if the government calls same-sex relationships qmarriages, q they will still not be marriages. Marriage realists should resist by refusing to refer to them as such.... or two references, including this comment in 2004: But since the state bans polygamy, some ask, why not also ban same sex marriages? ... I am still building my definition of marriage, and polygamy has some light to shed on what marriage means. ... back, almost as a joke, and it was fun, so he tries it again, and a couple more times, in newspaper op-eds, as a guest blogger. ... card. It is the letters from irate readers that really consolidate his convictions. He is surprised at how bad theanbsp;...

Title:The Verdict of Reason
Author:Nathanael Smith
Publisher:Nathanael Smith - 2013-11-05


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