Recognition of Gay and Lesbian Marriage and Pluralism

2118 words 9 pages
Recognition of gay and lesbian marriage and pluralism
Word Count: 2024

What does pluralism reveal about the recognition of gay and lesbian marriage? What are the strengths and limitations of this theory in understanding the recognition of gay and lesbian marriage?

Power overlaps between interest and political groups and as a result, political decision-making is reached through negotiation and compromise (Manley 1983). Indeed, when examining the progressive debate concerning the legal recognition of same-sex relationships in Australia, the perception that power is bartered through interest groups becomes highly plausible through the lens of classical pluralist theory. There are competing visions of diversity in Australia, and behind
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Constructed in polarizing terms, the debate on same-sex marriage recognition largely encompasses a human rights dialogue versus a conservative religious narrative. According to Dewey, this diversity in opinion is essential for successful empirical enquiry (1988). This means the important question is not how to reduce differences, but how to ensure that pluralistic opinions are useful to the goals of epistemic and political practices (Dewey 1988). In order for pluralism to operate most effectively and responsibly, Fleming and McClain insist that it is inappropriate to submerge individualism into society and that it is essential to appreciate the value of diversity in our morally pluralistic constitutional democracy (2013). Difference and division should be acknowledged. Moreover, this present notion of moral relativism reveals the extremities of concern in the marriage equality debate, and a shift from traditional moral notions toward communitarianism. Pluralism holds that moral judgments are true or false relative to a particular standpoint and are imbued through value education (Aspin 2000). For example, religious leaders that draw from institutional power sources have a vested interest in upholding religious values and preserving marriage for heterosexual couples (Brumbaugh et al. 2008). In a similar fashion, Kelleher’s article argues that legislating for the recognition of lesbian and gay marriage does not support traditional pluralism, as it erodes