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Moral Argument, Religion, and Same-Sex Marriage

Advancing the Public Good

Edited by Gordon A. Babst; Emily R. Gill and Jason A. Pierceson - Contributions by Carlos A. Ball; Chai Feldblum; Valerie Lehr; Sam Marcosson; Jason Pierceson; Claire Snyder-Hall; Ron Steiner and Karen Struening

The diverse expert contributors to this volume from the fields of politics and law use moral argumentation with respect to same-sex marriage, gay rights in general, and California's Prop 8. The arguments are advanced in terms of the nation's foundational political and legal principles, extending ethical argumentation to important contemporary public policy areas such as marriage, the separation of church and state, and the rearing of children.

Several chapters also contest the perceived if not actual establishment in the law and public policy of heterosexist and religious bias that continues to work against full and meaningful inclusion of sexual minorities. This bias is ironically and improperly couched in the language of American political and religious values, and it misunderstands the nation's core principles, or willfully miscasts them as inapplicable to many Americans and their families. Nonetheless, this bias is pervasive in the nation's political discourse, working to deny an important right and the recognition of equality to many citizens. The main contribution ofMoral Argument, Religion, and Same-Sex Marriage is in its direct engagement with the political and legal arguments of the gay community's critics on their own moral and ethical terms. Along the way, important concepts in public discourse—such as governmental neutrality, the right to marry, and religious freedom—are presented and cast in the light of liberal-democratic theory.
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Lexington Books
Pages: 266Size: 6 1/2 x 9 1/2
978-0-7391-2649-3 • Hardback • September 2009 • $95.00 • (£65.00)
978-0-7391-2650-9 • Paperback • September 2009 • $39.99 • (£24.95)
978-0-7391-4119-9 • eBook • September 2009 • $39.99 • (£24.95)
Gordon A. Babst is associate professor of political science at Chapman University and author ofLiberal Constitutionalism, Marriage, and Sexual Orientation: A Contemporary Case for Dis-Establishment.

Emily R. Gill is Caterpillar Professor of Political Science at Bradley University and author of Becoming Free: Autonomy and Diversity in the Liberal Polity.

Jason A. Pierceson is associate professor of political studies and legal studies at University of Illinois at Springfield and author of Courts, Liberalism, and Rights: Gay Law and Politics in the United States and Canada.
Chapter 1 Introduction
Part 2 Part I. Same-Sex Marriage and Partnerships
Chapter 3 Introduction to Part I
Chapter 4 Chapter 1. A Commentary on the Old Saw that Same-Sex Marriage Threatens Civilization
Chapter 5 Chapter 2. Looking for Liberty and Defining Marriage in Three Same-Sex Marriage Cases
Chapter 6 Chapter 3. The Religion Clauses and Same-Sex Marriage
Chapter 7 Chapter 4. Against Neutrality in the Legal Recognition of Intimate Relationships
Part 8 Part II. Same-Sex Attraction and Liberal Democratic Theory
Chapter 9 Introduction to Part II
Chapter 10 Chapter 5. Marriage Equality and the Morality of Liberalism: The California Decision
Chapter 11 Chapter 6. Same-Sex Marriage and the American Political Tradition
Chapter 12 Chapter 7. The Special Status of Religion Under the First Amendment…and What it Means for Gay Rights and Anti-Discrimination Laws
Chapter 13 Chapter 8. Supporting Queer Youth: A New Vision of Child, Family, and State
Chapter 14 Chapter 9. Consuming its own? Heteronormativity contra Human Plurality
Chapter 15 Conclusion
Traditionally, proponents of gay and lesbian rights have ceded the turf of 'morality' to their opponents and have usually advocated the privatization of moral values. The essays in this fine collection engage social conservatives on their own terms in a variety of ways, and they demonstrate convincingly that recognition of same sex attraction and union can be defended vigorously on moral and ethical grounds. The contributors to this volume show that recognition of the legitimacy of same-sex unions is not simply a matter of morally neutral 'tolerance,' but that such unions can make positive contributions to the public interest. This volume represents an important contribution to political science and to the discourse of practical politics.
Ted G. Jelen, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Moral Argument, Religion, and Same-Sex Marriage contains timely and provocative essays on a subject rightly taking center stage in national debate.
H. N. Hirsch, Oberlin College

The strength of this book is to assert that American history, law, democracy, and morality is on their side....A good analysis.... Takes debates about same-sex marriage into a new direction, looking at how it raises important questions about democratic theory and the way progressives should use moral arguments in defending their views.... Recommended.
D. Schultz; CHOICE, June 2010

This important and timely book powerfully shows how and why the contemporary case for gay rights in the United States can and should be made in substantive moral terms, appealing to the values that unite us as a free people under the rule of law.
David A.J. Richards, New York University