READS: The Definitive Secular Gay Marriage Discussion

I am sick to the teeth of reposting this every few weeks, so I am going to put it here now that I have a blog and just link to it.

In early 2011, Robert P. George, a prominent social conservative from Princeton, plus some colleagues of his, published “What Is Marriage?”, which is generally considered the definitive case against same-sex marriage from a non-religious perspective.  (Note that “definitive” is not the same as “conclusive.”  Many conservatives I know would quibble with George on a number of points both minor and major.)

Here is “What Is Marriage“:

That paper kicked off an EPIC marriage debate among online intellectuals.  It is ALL worth reading — both sides make serious arguments.  If you want to actually have a conversation about gay marriage, rather than just resorting to your Bible or to calling all your opponents hateful bigots, this is a great place to start.  Although I have sorted them, I have tried to keep the conversation in chronological order, since the various critiques build on each other at times:

Kenji Yoshino’s critique (I):
Robert George’s reply:

Andrew Koppelman’s critique (I)
Robert George’s reply:

Barry Deutch’s critique:
Robert George’s reply:

Kenji Yoshino’s critique (II):
Robert George’s reply:

Andrew Koppelman’s critique [of Yoshino]:
Robert George’s additional comments:

That’s the basic discussion that took place at the time.  I also recently found an earlier, tangentially-connected exchange from about a year earlier:

Andrew Koppelman’s paper:
Robert George’s critique:
Andrew Koppelman’s defense:

George later posted two further articles on the subject of marriage at Public Discourse:

Marriage and Procreation: Avoiding Bad Arguments“:
Marriage and Procreation: The Intrinsic Connection“:

It’ll take a smart person the best part of a day to do all this reading, but it’s crucial to do this or something like it if you’re on *either* side of the debate and want to have a serious conversation.

I should note that I don’t think George is 100% right.  His defense of marriage for knowingly infertile couples doesn’t really add up from a civil standpoint, in my opinion.  But, like I said at the outset, this is a starting point for intelligent discourse, not a conclusion.

And, yeah, this is kinda the Robert P. George show.  If you want an introduction to the issue from a secular pro-natural marriage perspective, that’s where you go.  You want more complexity, or to deal with specific objections within the two broad camps, you dig deeper.  But this is an overview.


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