Rawls, Political Liberalism, and the Family: A Reply to Matthew B. O'Brien

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Responding to an article in a previous issue from Matthew B. O’Brien on the impermissibility of same-sex marriage, this reply corrects a misinterpretation of Rawls’s understanding of political liberalism and a misdirected complaint against the jurisprudence of the U.S. federal courts on civil marriage and other matters. In correcting these interpretations, I seek to demonstrate that a publicly reasonable case for same-sex civil marriage is conceivable in line with political liberalism. I conclude the article by arguing that, although the same-sex civil marriage issue is likely to be a matter of controversy for some time in western societies, a proper understanding of the theoretical issues at stake may contribute to a partial de-escalation of the ‘culture wars’ currently surrounding the issue.
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Archival date: 2015-11-21
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