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Same-sex marriage: Morality vs equality

GS Paper 4

 Syllabus: Ethics, Integrity and Attitude


Source: TH

 Context: The issue of same-sex marriage has been taken up by the Supreme Court. This article highlights the ethical issues associated with it.

ArgumentSupporters of Same-Sex MarriageOpponents of Same-Sex Marriage
View on Same-Sex MarriageArgue for equal rights and recognitionConsider it a threat to traditional values
Basis of ArgumentEquality and recognition of love and commitmentMoral or religious beliefs
Perspective on MoralityEmphasize fairness and equal treatmentView Marriage as a sacred institution – Issues with Child-Rearing and Parental Roles
Legal ImplicationsAdvocate for expanding marriage definitionAdvocate for maintaining the traditional definition

What should be the role of the state in regulating personal relationships and defining moral norms:

  • Minimal Intervention
  • Protecting Individual Rights
  • Promoting Public Morality
  • Cultural and Democratic Influence


Global Scenario:

  • In Australia, the Same-Sex Relationships (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws – General Law Reform) Act 2008 was enacted to provide equal entitlements for same-sex couples in matters of, inter alia, social security, employment and taxation.
  • In England and Wales, the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 enabled same-sex couples to marry in civil ceremonies or with religious rites.
  • In 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States decided that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples. It held the denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples to be a grave and continuing harm, serving to disrespect and subordinate gays and lesbians.
  • At least 29 countriesin the world have legalised same-sex marriage.



Ultimately, the resolution of this debate involves balancing competing values, including equality, individual rights, religious freedom, and societal norms. It requires careful consideration of the rights and dignity of all individuals involved, while also respecting diverse perspectives on the meaning and purpose of marriage.