Journal of Social Philosophy 42 (3):288-304 (2011)

Some critics of same-sex marriage allege that this kind of union not only betrays the nature of marriage but that it also opens children to various kinds of harm. Same-sex marriage is objectionable, on this view, in its nature and in its effects. A view of marriage as requiring an unassisted capacity to conceive children may be respect as one idea of marriage, but this view need not be understood as marriage itself. It is not clear, in any case, why government should prefer this one idealized view of marriage over other others, so long as recognition of other kinds of marriage do not stand in the way of government carrying out its core interests, such as the protection of children. The idea that children are necessarily harmed when conceived by and for same-sex couples cannot be sustained as a matter of psychological evidence or moral argument. No research shows that such children are routinely harmed or rarely-but-catastrophically. Comparative accounts of the welfare of children of same-sex couples cannot show either that children must be brought into existence only under ideal circumstances.
Keywords ethics  children  same-sex marriage
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DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9833.2011.01534.x
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