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Fanshawe College

Policy Research Assignment

Same Sex Marriage

Abigail Soares

LIBS 7001

Dr. M. Abdelghani

May 21, 2018



To put it simply, a homosexual is an individual whose sexual preference is for the person of the

same sex. Same-sex marriage is exactly how it sounds: marriage between two males or marriage

between two females. How is it fair people are deprived the right to get married based on who

they love? It’s unfortunate that despite a rapid change of attitude towards this type of family

dynamic, there is still an ongoing argument on this subject. There are two main views to same-

sex marriage: for and against. Same-sex marriage is an extremely important social issue to

discuss because it affects many people. Many countries are overruling previous laws against

same-sex marriage and are moving rapidly in a progressive direction regarding their attitudes

towards this topic (Mappes, Zembaty, & DeGrazia, 2012). However, despite this, many

homosexuals still face discrimination despite their country’s removal of the same-sex marriage

ban. Recently, a gay couple at a high school in Georgia were nominated for their prom court.

Unfortunately, they won’t be allowed to win together as their school says that the prom court

must consist of one king and one queen (Ford, 2018). Seeing how gay people still face

discrimination in societies where it should be accepted is a main reason why same-sex marriage

is a very important topic. However, although hurtful, this prom issue seems small compared to

what people in other countries face. Homosexuality is punishable by death in twelve counties.

Simple public displays of affection can cause these people to die so they can forget about their

right to marry when they may not even have a right to life anymore (Fenton, 2016). The severity

of this topic in other societies stresses the huge importance of this issue.

Policy Positions and Justification

There are two prominent perspectives and positions on same-sex marriage: for and against. The

conventional, or conservative view condemns same-sex acts while the liberal view believes that

same-sex relationships are not more immoral than heterosexual ones (Mappes et al., 2012). The

argument against asserts the following claims:

- There will be severe social consequences if there is a societal acceptance of same-sex


- The acceptance of same-sex marriage will undermine the institution of marriage

- If same-sex marriage is recognized, there will be a destruction of family values (Mappes

et al., 2012).

However, the other side of the argument believes the following are grounds for the acceptance of

same-sex marriage:

- Same-sex marriage relates to equality; if homosexuals are not allowed to get married it is


- Some heterosexuals cannot or do not want to have children are still allowed to get

married despite marriage (in the minds of conservatives) being for procreating (Mappes

et al., 2012).

Some conservatives implement the slippery slope argument. They believe that if society accepts

same-sex marriage, the door will be open to other forms of marriage that go against their norm,

such as polygamy and other forms of plural marriage (Mappes et al., 2012). This argument

relates to the normative theory of consequentialism because these opponents of same-sex

marriage are concerned with the potential consequences and threats that may arise if it is


Justice Martha B. Sosman

Sosman is against the support of same-sex marriage. Her argument focuses on the validity of

evidence in support of the claim that families with parents of the same sex are just as successful

in raising children has families with parents of the opposite sex. She believes that her worries are

legitimate and concludes that legislation makers have a solid foundation for resisting a

redefinition of marriage to include same-sex marriage (Mappes et al., 2012). Her stance follows

consequentialism as she is worried about the negative societal impacts of supporting same-sex

marriage. It can relate to utilitarianism as her belief of banning same-sex marriage is morally

right because of the consequences on society that would evolve if the ban were lifted.

Maggie Gallagher

Gallagher has a strong opposition to same-sex marriage and rejects the idea that marriage is only

about love. She believes that the purpose of marriage is to provide children with mothers and

fathers and not just two of the same. She also believes that same-sex marriage threatens to

dissolve the core meaning and purpose of marriage. She brings up how marriage is already in a

crisis mode due to the alarming rates of divorce and infidelity and doesn’t want to erode norms

further (Mappes et al., 2012). Her stance relates to consequentialism and utilitarianism too as she

is concerned with the well-being of society and how it will change if same-sex policies change as

well. She is also concerned with her own idea of the duties and promises people make when

having children as she believes it’s our duty to provide children with both gendered parents

(however this ignores the equality portion of deontology).

John Corvino

Corvino supports same-sex marriage and rejects the view that homosexuality is immoral. He has

the strongest argument out of all articles discussing this topic because he considers the arguments

made against same-sex marriage and counters. He defends against the claim that homosexuality

is harmful to those who engage in it and that others (children) are threatened by it (Mappes et al.,

2012). His view represents deontology because his view treats everyone equally by saying that

everyone has the right to marriage despite who it is to. Beneficence can be considered as well as

his arguments displays a duty to improve the conditions of others; the conditions being

acceptance of same-sex marriage.

Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall

Marshall considers the Massachusetts ban on same-sex marriage and states that it is not

compatible with the State’s constitution on equal protect and due process grounds. She believes

that the most important factor of marriage is love and not the potential children couples may

have (Mappes et al., 2012). Her view also represents deontology as it focuses on equality rights.

Jonathan Rauch

Rauch is also in support of same-sex marriage. He supports his argument by developing a new

framework of the social meaning of marriage. He states that there are two additional purposes of

marriage: domesticating males and providing reliable caregivers. He believes that gay marriage

should be expected not just permitted (Mappes et al., 2012). Like Corvino, he is concerned with

equality for everyone as well as improving the conditions of others (beneficence). His view can

also relate to virtue ethics as he concerned what type of people should be parents (qualities best

suited for parentage) and believes that there are no consequences to same-sex marriage (similar

to the views of Corvino and Marshall).

Canadian Policy

“I think the view we take here is that there’s no place for state in the bedrooms of the nation. I

think that what is done in private between adults doesn’t concern the criminal code.”

This famous quote was said by former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in 1967 and sparked

Canada’s progressive attitude towards same sex relationships (CBC News, 2012). In 1965,

Everett Klippert came out as gay and was put in prison. This is where Trudeau came in and

Klippert was released much sooner than he would have been had Trudeau never made a change

to the amendments (CBC News, 2012). In December 1977, Quebec was the first province to pass

a gay civil rights law. In July 2002, for the first time, a Canadian court rules in favour of

recognizing same-sex marriages (CBC News, 2012). The gay rights movement all started

because of Everett Klippert and Pierre Trudeau. It is amazing to see how early this movement

started when countries similar to Canada, like America and Australia have only recently made

same-sex marriage legal. Canada demonstrates a very liberal view on same sex marriage.

Canada is not concerned with consequentialism. It recognizes that the country has a duty to

provide rights to everyone under equality rights and make the country a better place for not only

Canadians, but also for those who seek refuge. Canada is known for being a cultural mosaic.

Rather than force people to assimilate to their culture and norms, Canada accepts everyone and

their walk of life rather than forcing everyone to blend in. The same can be said regarding their

views on same-sex relationships. Everyone is free to be who they are in this country.

International Policy – Iran

As mentioned above, Canada’s policy on gay rights was progressive from an early point in time.

However, many countries have not changed their ideas on gay rights despite it being 2018. Iran

is one of those countries, but their way is much than just not allowing homosexuals to get

married; being gay in Iran is an act punishable by death. It is difficult to determine how this

country arrived at this idea but homosexuals in Iran have faced challenges since the 1930s and

those challenges have not gotten better in recent years (CNN, 2008). Iran is a majority-Muslim

country and therefore their religious beliefs could be predominant reason why being gay in Iran

is illegal (Crossley, Gourlay & Spraggon, 2017). There is a story in the Quran about the Prophet

Lot warned his followers about the immorality of approaching men with desire instead of

woman. Many conservatives Muslims use this story as a justification for the stigmatization of

homosexuals (Akyol). Iran believes that they have solved their gay marriage problem. The

country believes that their current solution will stop people from seeking same-sex marriage

rights. When people come out of the closet and engage in a homosexual act they are killed. If

they are killed then, they can’t possibly ask for the right to marry (Boteach, 2015). In 2014, two

teenagers were hanged in public for having sex but stoning to death is another popular form of

public execution utilized in Iran hundreds of times each year (McCarthy, 2017). Ramin Haghjoo

and Nima and Nia fled Iran because they were fearful of their happiness and life, or rather lack

thereof if they were to live true to themselves in Iran. After fleeing Iran for Turkey, they left for

the United States because of success stories they have heard (Foley, 2017). Iran’s stance on gay

marriage reflects the country’s definition of virtue ethics. They believe that all people should not

be gay because it goes against the country’s and religion’s values. Their idea of virtue ethics is

completely different from many modernized societies. People who are gay in Iran are worried

about the consequences of their true selves. That is why some hide who they truly are because

they are worried about the punishment of death. This relates to consequentialism.


The biggest key difference between Canada and Iran is the legal status of same-sex marriage in

each country. In Canada, is it legal to get married to someone of the same sex and it has been

legal to just be gay for many years. However, just being gay in Iran could potentially lead

someone to lose their life – they can forget about the right to marry. The right to marry is the

least of their concerns as a homosexual in that country. I completely agree with the right to same-

sex marriage. It is unfathomable to me that some people are denied the right to marry simply

because of who they love. Growing up I always thought marriage was about love and then

children come if that is something the couple wants. It is unfair to base the legality of it on

children when some heterosexual couples do not want or cannot have children. Family dynamics

are constantly changing. There is no such thing as a normal family any more. There are single

parents, divorced parents, and blended families. Everyone has their own definition of what it

means to be married and what it means to be a family. Same-sex marriage, in my opinion, is a

basic human right and everyone deserves to be married to who they love.


Akyol, M. (2015). What Does Islam Say About Being Gay? Retrieved May 20, 2018 from


Boteach, R.S. (2015). How Iran Solved Its Gay Marriage Problem. Retrieved May 20, 2018


CBC News. (2012). TIMELINE | Same-sex rights in Canada. Retrieved May 20, 2018 from

Crossley, P., Gourlay, C. & Spraggon, B. (2017). Pride, prejudice and punishment: Gay rights

around the world. Retrieved May 20, 2018 from


Fenton, S. (2016). LGBT relationships are illegal in 74 countries, research finds. Retrieved May

20, 2018 from


Foley, E. (2017). This Gay Couple Left Iran For A Better Life. Now They Wonder If It Can Last

in America. Retrieved on May 20, 2018 from


Ford, Z. (2018). This gay couple was nominated to prom court, but they can’t win together.

Retrieved May 20, 2018 from


"Interview with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad". Larry King Live. CNN. 2008-09-23.

Retrieved May 20, 2018.


Mappes, T. A., Zembaty, J.S. & DeGrazia, D. (2012). Social Ethics: Morality and Social Policy

(8th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Book.

McCarthy, J. (2017). These 6 Countries Execute People for Being Gay. Retrieved May 20, 2018