Commonly same-sex marriages were considered to be immoral and were not supported by society. However, recently they became legal in some countries and several states of America. Thus, it can be seen that today people tend to be more loyal than their forbears.
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Same-sex marriages are mainly not accepted by the church, and Christian ethics claims them to be forbidden (Andryszewski 28). Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill created an approach opposite to the Christian one that can be used to support the issue. It is called utilitarianism, and its central idea is that the actions performed by human beings are to make them happy eventually. It does not matter what one does; it is important that he/she is satisfied with the outcomes (Braybrooke 54).
To deal with the issue in the utilitarianism perspective, one needs to decide how he/she treats the subject. When we want to determine if same-sex marriages are right or bad things according to utilitarianism, we evaluate the outcomes and answer the question on their basis. This approach is rather subjunctive.
According to utilitarianism, same-sex marriages are normal if the people agreed to be involved in them voluntarily and have no claims. Consent is the primary step that should be performed. Then any sexual relationships are considered to be moral. For example, if two women love each other and want to get married there is nothing wrong about it. However, if one of the partners is somehow forced (blackmailed, etc.) the marriage is morally wrong.
Bentham’s felicific calculus was provided within the framework of utilitarianism. It is used to measure the degree of happiness that is supposed to be gained when a particular action is accomplished. This algorithm helps in the decision-making process as it supports the predicted outcomes with appropriate data. The felicific calculus measures:
- The intensity of the positive feeling achieved. One is to evaluate predicted happiness according to its strength;
- Duration. It is considered how long will the person be satisfied with the outcome of the decision;
- Certainty. One should think about the possibility of gaining no positive feelings. Maybe the risks are too high.
- The propinquity of the feeling. It is to be predicted when the person will become happy.
- Fecundity. One should consider if the outcomes can bring similar feelings;
- The purity of the positive feeling. There is also a possibility that the action will cause negative sensations.
- Extent. People interact with others, and the outcomes can influence them also (Mulnix 65).
I believe that people are free to choose what is best for them and support the idea of homosexual marriages to be moral if the partners have agreed. My opinion can be proved using the felicific calculus. The couple will be happy with the decision all their lives. As they dealt with lots of difficulties to achieve their goal, the pleasure will be rather high. If the partners are prepared to get married, and their decision is deliberate, they will surely be happy.
Of course, there is an opportunity that they will not find a common language and will divorce, but this issue is on the front burner for heterosexual couples as well. Positive feelings will occur as soon as the decision is made, and the action is performed. These will be not only pleasure and happiness but also the delight, enthusiasm, and joy. Negative feelings may be brought by the misunderstandings within the family and non-acceptance by society. This decision will influence all people that will interact with the couple.
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Taking everything mentioned in the account, I came up with the conclusion that the acceptance of same-sex marriages can be supported by utilitarianism and the results of the felicific calculus.
Andryszewski, Tricia. Same-Sex Marriage: Moral Wrong or Civil Right? Minneapolis: Twenty-First Century Books, 2007. Print.
Braybrooke, David. Utilitarianism, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2004. Print.
Mulnix, Jennifer. Happy Lives, Good Lives: A Philosophical Examination, Peterborough: Broadview Press, 2015. Print.