Ethical relativism and same-sex marriage

  • Thomas Egaga Ushie
Keywords: Ethical, Retativism, Same Sex, Marriage, Laws, Culture, Religion.


Meta-ethical theories such as relativism, are tailored to respond to uncertainties, controversies, surrounding ethical arguments and judgments on issues such as the practice of same-sex relationship and marriage. This practice and orientation has grown slow and steady over the years from hermitage and obscurity to international reckoning. The Republic of Ireland held a referendum in May 2015 to determine its acceptance; the Supreme Court of the United States of America (USA) delivered judgment on same-sex marriage on June 27, 2015, legalizing the practice in all the states of America. Yet, countries like Nigeria, Uganda, made laws that criminalized the sexual orientation and practice. Also, world leaders such as the President of the United States of America, Barracks Obama, a man that commands power and respect, became the “ambassador” of same-sex marriage, advocating freedom to practice it without discrimination, especially in Africa, while a respected leader like Uhuru Kenyetta of Kenya did not fail to remind Obama that cultural variations would not permit Kenyans to be dictated to by Western leaders on the issue. These referendums, judgments, legislations, opinions, posturing, have not gone well with several other people, groups, societies, who believe that their rights to choose freely, their cultural, religious, and moral rights and orientations have been trampled on. The focus of this paper is, therefore, the evaluation of same-sex marriage from the prism of ethical relativism aimed at providing grounding for the evaluation of same-sex marriage as right or wrong, good or bad, moral or immoral, which evokes different ethical emotions from the legal or legislative standpoints taken by the United States and Nigeria, respectively. This would be done by analyzing literature, commentaries, on the subject matter. And in the conclusion that follows, we posit that cultural diversity and its resultant ethical relativist differentials, although gives room for diverse moral positions and practices, it does not fundamentally invalidate the universality of moral ontology, yet, reckons with its spatio-temporality. Accordingly, for the Supreme Court to take judicial decision legalizing or criminalizing same-sex marriage, or the National Assembly to legislate on it, is to truncate this spatio-temporality as well as distort its ontology.

Keywords: Ethical, Retativism, Same Sex, Marriage, Laws, Culture, Religion.


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eISSN: 1119-443X