You are on page 1of 1

Individual choice and autonomy defends an individuals right not to submit to others in making

important decisions about how he/she should lead his/her life. When speaking of autonomy, it
leaves individuals alone to pursue their life goals as they deem best. One of the most important
decisions that govern how one leads his/her life is marriage. Marriage, as a matter of personal
choice in order to maximize its utility or satisfaction, seeks to attain happiness or self-fulfillment.
By requesting that same-sex marriage be recognized by the state, these homosexuals are asking
for the right to self-fulfillment as they deem best.
According to Sen, it is hard to deny that happiness is extremely important and we have a very
good reason to try to advance peoples happiness, including our own. The primary considerations
of marriage include the right to attain happiness. Sen espouses the belief of choosing the society
with least injustice. Clearly, disallowing the right to same-sex marriage deprives there
homosexuals of individual choice.
The idea of marriage should not be limited to what history and tradition has taught us to view it
only as exclusive for heterosexual marriages. To deny people of the option to engage into same
sex marriage is contradictory to maximizing the utility or satisfaction that marriage itself deems
to attain that is happiness. Of course, there are other things taken into consideration in the name
of marriage but it cannot be denied that self-fulfillment is one of the primary, if not the primary,
reason for marriage.
Sen also mentioned the relationship between capability and happiness. Sen argues that happiness
is a very important human functioning and the capability to be happy is one aspect of the
freedom we have reason to value. One source of happiness important to human functioning is
marriage. Denying homosexuals of the opportunity to engage into same-sex marriage while
allowing heterosexuals to engage into a heterosexual marriage is unjust and contrary to the idea
of compromise. Why create a distinction between same-sex marriage and heterosexual marriage
when each and every one is entitled to this freedom that we value? If people are to attain
happiness, it is important to consider every right people has in relation with others. It is
important to ask, by allowing same sex marriage does it deprive others right to be happy? And if
it doesnt, then clearly there is no justification in its prohibition.
Sen also notes that happiness and other capabilities are interrelated. Achieving certain goals and
things we value can itself be a source of happiness. Conversely, failure to achieve the things we
value can lead to a diminishment in our happiness. Thus, happiness can be of great
circumstantial relevance in checking whether people are succeeding or failing to get what they
value and have reason to value. It is unfair to limit people from reaching their other capabilities
just because they are deprived of their right to self-fulfillment through marriage. To do so would
put us in a situation that is least unjust, contrary to Sens ideal society.