Utilitarianism and Gay Marriage Essay

According to Utilitarianism, an actions goodness consists in its increasing the total quantity of pleasure in the world from now until the end of time, and its badness in its decreasing the total quantity of pleasure in the world, from now until the end of time; the more and action increases the total quantity of pleasure in the world, from now until the end of time, the better it is and the more it decreases the total quantity of pleasure in the world from now until the end of time.

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Utilitarianism is a very influential theory, and its variation.  As stated above, the utilitarian principle applies to individual actions.  For each action, we consider the impact on utility and judge the action by its net impact.  This is sometimes called “act utilitarianism”.  One variant of utilitarianism, called “rule utilitarianism,” applies the utility principle not to individual actions but to general ethical rules.

Thus, a rule utilitarian might argue that the rule “Do not lie” will increase total utility, and for that reason is a good rule.

  Rule-utilitarian do not do a utility calculation for each instance where lying is considered.  Generally, a utilitarian would be more comfortable than a deontologist breaking a rule in circumstances where doing so would have a good consequence.

In other words, the Utilitarian claimed to have answered the most perplexing questions: What should be the guide for individual conduct?  What should be the function of the government, the main organizational aspect of the community? And how can one’s interest be reconciled with opposing interest of others and of the community as a whole?  According to Utilitarianism, the pleasure-pain principle not only answer the first two questions, but it also proves that there can be no clash between individual and group interest, because if the conduct of both will be the same.

This holds true for the legal issue about gay marriage. The issues of marriage are very complex, especially when dealing with issues of who should and should not be married, and what being married really means. Gay Marriage is a union between two men or two women, allowing them to have the exact same set of legal rights as those possessed by heterosexual spouses.     Homosexual is characterized by or involving sexual attraction felt by a person for another person of the same sex.

Homosexuality has many causes, in the same way that a fever may occur from the different sources.  However, as a generalization, it can be said that homosexuality often seems to result from an unhappy home life usually involving confusion in sexual identity.  Hence the relation between man and man based on utilitarianism will be good if they are useful – that is, if they increase happiness or pleasure and reduce pain.

Happiness is a feeling of joy and pleasure.  We are all special creatures; live with a certain purpose, made equally to meet the total satisfaction in life – to become happy. All people live in the society with right and privileges in life and for their essential advantage, so that the goodness and happiness of the member, that is, the majority of the members of every State, is the great standard by which everything elating to the state must finally be determined. There is nothing wrong with being a gay. Gay are people too, part of society deserved to have this civil liberties.

I think both issue can be argued in any direction. But I think that there is no reason that the federal government or any one for that matter should restrict same –sex marriage. Because it is right of the any individual or homosexual legally, socially, and economically, matrimony between gay couples should be accepted.  We cannot deny the basic human and legal right of marriage to a class of individuals due to their sexual preference.  Gays also have the four categories of sources of happiness according to Bentham: physical, political, moral, and religious.

Except for some (namely, transcendental) religious pleasures, however, all pleasure can be expressed in the physical sense since they will create a feeling of well-being.  Bentham added two regulatory factors benevolence and sympathy.  As far as gay was concerned the utilitarian saw a main problem in making people aware of what pleasures they should seek, of understanding their true interest.  Hence they insisted on the need for more education and were confident that a well-ordered society would disapprove socially harmful conduct.  Through education and social disapproval, the individual will learn that evil-action – that is action causing pain to others – is a “miscalculation of self interest.

 I don’t think that gender is an issue here, what is important is their love and respect each other and committed for long life relationship. “Usefulness” of the conduct either of the individual or of the government was social usefulness or, in his often quoted summation of Bentham philosophy, “the greatest happiness of the greatest number”.  Socially, allowing gays to marry would help encourage stable, married life while discouraging the flamboyant and often promiscuous fringe lifestyle of some of the most vocal homosexual activists.  Thus, gay marriage would not only bring the social benefits of stable relationships with gays; it would also help end much of the ignorance and social stigmata – and thus the ostracism, brutal violence, and self-loathing associated with homosexuality today.

And while most of these children were had in heterosexual relationships or marriages prior to “coming out” a significant number of gay and lesbian couples are having children through adoption, cooperative parenting arrangement, and artificial insemination.  Within the next two decades, gays and lesbian will not only win the right to marry but will, like newly arrive immigrants, be some of the strongest proponent of traditional of traditional family values.

There are argument about Gay marriage rob a child of a two-parent family, and studies show that a child without one or the other parent is more likely to be stricken by. The response is not supported by facts. Many children suffer the loss of one parent to all sorts of different causes: death, divorce (and one parent moves far away), drug abuse or abandonment by the parent.

Conveniently, many opponents of gay marriage ignore the fact that there are far more children doing well who are not being raised by their natural mother and father in an intact marital situation than there are those languishing. The figures they cite are often relating to drug abuse, arrest, and abandonment issues, and of course these things all put children in worse straits. But in many committed gay families, there are two parents in the home – and the children are well adjusted and successful in school.

In fact, a recent study showed that for the very best parental situation, one would need to be sure a child was raised by a pair of lesbians; these children turned out to be more well adjusted and have better IQ scores than their peers being raised by their own bio moms and dads.

  In the landmark decision in 2003, the Supreme Court struck down a Texas law that barred homosexual relations (Lawrence v. Texas, 2003).  The decision effectively overturned Bowers v. Hardwick and prevented states from criminalizing gay and lesbian sex.  At about the same time, an Ontario court ruled that Canada’s marriage laws discriminated against homosexuals; and soon afterward the Canadian Cabinet proposed a plan legalize same-sex marriages.  Later in the year, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health that barring same-sex marriage violated the state constitution.  These events sparked a heated public debate about whether to legalize same-sex marriages.

At the heart of the debate are two different views of what marriage is all about.  One view is that marriages exist primarily so that people can raise children in the best way for them.  This view is an older one; going back to the days when the survival of a family line could not be taken for granted.  It emphasizes the publicity valuable work of caring for the next generation – no the sort of thing, it is advocates argue, to risk by understanding radical changes in marriage.

And in this traditional view, often supported by religious belief, having both a mother and a father is important.  The second, newer view sees marriage more in terms of the private rewards it provides to adult than in terms of childrearing.  It emphasizes intimacy and companionship between spouses.  If one takes this focus, the rationale for restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples is weaker.

Some people favor an in-between status that provides same-sex couples with many of the legal protection that come with marriage.  For example, many municipalities allow both opposite sex and same-sex couple to register as domestic partners.  In 200 Vermont become the first state to allow gay couples to enter into “civil union.”  Advocates of gay marriage argue that these alternatives create second class- citizenship.  Defenders of traditional marriage, on the other hand, claim that even the availability of civil unions erodes the position of marriage.

According to Utilitarianism, conduct and character are not to be judged good in themselves but only in their effect; they have no value save their usefulness in promoting actual happiness or satisfaction in life. By conceiving happiness in the democratic, equalitarian form of pleasure, Bentham forged an effective weapon of liberal social reform.  Pleasure is such an intimate and immediate good that no man has a right to deny another man’s enjoyment of his own socially harmless pleasure.  The cultivated pleasures of educated men have no claim to special consideration over the simpler pleasures of plain men; and no one can rightfully act in ways that diminish the happiness of others.

Getting married is not only a way for couples to express their love and commitment to each other but also in a way for them to obtain important  practical and financial advantages not available to couples who cohabit or live part.  In most nations the law has long recognized marriage in which the spouses have special rights and responsibility.

The extension of rights and recognition to gay and lesbian partnership has often been controversial.  A number of local and state initiatives have been ballots in recent years.  Vermont in 2000 became the first state to create a form of domestic partnership for same-sex couples, which the legislature called a” civil union”.

Social conservatives believe the benefits to be an unwarranted endorsement of a form of family life they morally oppose.  Advocates of domestic partnerships and of the more radical step of legalizing gay marriage, argue, in contrast that these steps allow gay men and lesbian to openly live the conservative lifestyle of committed, monogamous couples.  The debate reflects the weakening role of marriage in the situation of the family.  Although still dominant, heterosexual marriage is no longer the only acceptable way for couples to live together.  Rather, heterosexual cohabitation is broadly tolerated.

This toleration is so recent, however, that there is little consensus on the rights and responsibilities heterosexual partners should have toward each other and toward the children in their households.  Toleration of gay and lesbian partnerships would seem to be a logical next step.  Yet it is a leap that many heterosexuals still cannot make.  The extension of legally recognized domestic partnerships – and even marriage – to lesbian and gay couples is likely to remain a contentious public issue into the beginning of the twenty-first century.

The significance of the term “utilitarianism” came increasingly to be seen in the definition of right act as one that produces a maximum good. Let people live their lives.  Saying no to gay marriage is the same thing as saying no to interracial marriage. It is basically racism, even though homosexuals are not a race. It is discrimination.  Hospital visitation rights, social security benefits, health insurance, retirement savings, family leave, home protection, pensions, and more. Everybody deserves these rights.
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, people. Let’s not deny anyone those rights.  Everybody entitles to liberty and life to chase for happiness.


Same-sex marriage and civil opinions A Sampling of opinions.  Retrieved

Andrew J. Cherlin (1948),  Public & Private Families an Introduction 4th edition,

  1. 210-211, 246-247

Dr. James Dobson (1982) Dr. Dobson Answer your question:Marriage and Sexuality

Tydale House Publishers, Inc Wheaton Illinois. , pp. 149

Ron G. Weeks,(1990) Healing for all Homosexual conditions: Emphasis on Paederasty

(Male Erotic Boy Love) Encouraging Christian Ministry ,5 College Street

wendouree, Vic., 3350, pp. 18-19

Encyclopedia Americana (2001) Vol.27, pp 18.

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