What Is Marriage?: Man and Woman: A Defense

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Encounter Books, Feb 28, 2012 - Philosophy - 150 pages
Until just yesterday, no society--monogamous or polygamous—had defined marriage as anything other than a male-female union. With clear and cogent arguments, What Is Marriage? explains the rational basis of this historic consensus. It defeats the arguments for recognizing same-sex partnerships as marriages and shows how doing so would harm the common good.

Originally published in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, this book’s core argument quickly became the year’s most widely read essay of more than 300,000 scholarly articles posted on the Social Sciences Research Network. Now expanded to address a flurry of prominent responses, What Is Marriage? stands poised to meet its moment as few books of this generation have. If the marriage debate in America is decided in the next few years, it will be either with this book’s help, or despite its powerful arguments.

Rhodes Scholar Sherif Girgis, Princeton University professor Robert P. George, and Ryan T. Anderson, editor of the online journal Public Discourse, provide a devastating critique of the claim that equality requires redefining marriage. They point out that any assessment of what “marriage equality” demands depends on first determining what marriage is—what sort of relationships must be treated as essentially the same. They defend the principle that marriage, as a comprehensive union ordered to family life, requires a man and a woman. And they argue for the great social benefits of enshrining this principle in law.

Most compellingly, they show that those who embrace same-sex civil marriage leave themselves no firm ground—none—for not recognizing as marriages every relationship type describable in polite English, including multiple-partner (“polyamorous”) sexual unions.

Finally, What Is Marriage? decisively answer common objections: that the historic view is rooted in bigotry (like laws forbidding interracial marriage); that it is callous to people’s needs; that it can’t show the harm of recognizing same-sex couplings, or the point of recognizing infertile ones; and that it treats a mere “social construct” as if it were natural, or an unreasoned religious view as if it were rational.
 

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User Review  - Ron_Gilbert - LibraryThing

This review is in progress Civicly the meaning of marriage is probably the single most important issue America currently faces. Traditionally ("It has long been and remains a personal and social ... Read full review

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Offensive and close-minded view points. Nauseating to read

Contents

Title Page
Challenges to Revisionists
Comprehensive Union
The State and Marriage
Whats the Harm?
UNDERMINING FRIENDSHIP
Iustice and Equality
A Cruel Bargain?
Conclusion
Notes
Index
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Sherif Girgis is a Ph.D. student in philosophy at Princeton University and a J.D. candidate at Yale Law School. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude from Princeton, where he had won prizes for best senior thesis in ethics and best thesis in philosophy, as well as the Dante Society of America’s national Dante Prize, he obtained a B.Phil. in moral, political, and legal philosophy from the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar.

Ryan T. Anderson is William E. Simon Fellow at the Heritage Foundation and the editor of Public Discourse: Ethics, Law, and the Common Good, the online journal of the Witherspoon Institute. A Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude graduate of Princeton University, he is a doctoral candidate in political philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. He has worked as assistant editor of First Things and was a Journalism Fellow of the Phillips Foundation. His writings have appeared in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, First Things, the Weekly Standard, National Review, the New Atlantis, and the Claremont Review of Books.

Robert P. George is a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School and McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University. He is a member of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, and previously served on the President's Council on Bioethics and as a presidential appointee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights. He is a former Judicial Fellow at the Supreme Court of the United States, where he received the Justice Tom C. Clark Award. He is a recipient of the United States Presidential Citizens Medal and the Honorific Medal for the Defense of Human Rights of the Republic of Poland.

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