Sophia: An African Journal of Philosophy

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Ethical naturalism and same sex marriage

Thomas Egaga Ushie


The quest by persons in same-sex relationship to consummate their sexual affiliations in marriage, solemnize and legalize it, has recently assumed global attention, especially, partly due to the judgment of the Supreme Court of the United States of America which legalize the practice nationwide as well as the decision of the Nigerian National Assembly criminalizing the orientation and practice. The Supreme Court‘s and the Nigerian National Assembly‘s decision caused dissenting ethical, political and religious opinions on the sexual orientation and practice known as same-sex marriage. The purpose of this paper is neither to delve into the legality or otherwise of the practice nor challenge the court‘s or legislator‘s decisions legally, but to carry out an ethical naturalistic analysis of the controversies surrounding its legalization and criminalization. Accordingly, we posit, following the core thesis of the ethical naturalists, that the ontology of morality cannot be vitiated by perverse minds, by irrational wave of reason, but should be guided by what Roman jurist, Cicero, described as ―right reason‖, rather than resort to the reasons dictated by some lower animals‘ gay tendencies to justify the practice of same-sex marriage by human beings. And in the case under consideration, it can be ethical naturalistically argued that both the United States Supreme Court and Nigerian National Assembly, are to a great extent, right and wrong, in deciding the fate of gay relations in United States and Nigeria, respectively, in accordance with the dialectical historical social relations and interaction in their respective societies and the institutional moral and legal interplay.

Keywords: Ethical; Naturalism; same Sex; Marriage Moral Judgment; Law

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