I know that this is controversial for some readers, but for purposes of this discussion stipulate that same-sex marriage in wrong. As an institutional shift it will damage the institution of marriage in ways that will harm society in the long run. Obviously, this is a hugely controversial claim, but for the time being just accept it. Notwithstanding this, however, a number of jurisdictions have adopted same-sex marriage statutes. Let’s also stipulate the homosexual conduct is sinful, a belief held by most Mormons and one that certainly seems to be church doctrine. Should Mormons who hold all of these beliefs, nevertheless believe that homosexuals engaged in sexual conduct have an obligation to get (same-sex) marriages?
It seems to me that one could make an argument along these lines. Given the beliefs set forth above, we get a rough moral ranking of sexual conduct that looks something like this:
1. Abstain from all homosexual relations.
2. Conduct homosexual relations only within the confines of (same-sex) marriage.
3. Conduct homosexual relations outside of the confines of marriage.
I take it that the priority of 1 flows fairly simply from the assumptions above. One the other hand, if a person rules out 1, one might still argue that 2 is morally superior to 3, which would imply a duty to get married (albeit a duty nested within a supervailing — but neglected — duty of abstinence). The question, it seems to me, is whether the assumptions set forth above forbid one from drawing a meaningful moral distinction between 2 and 3. For myself, I don’t see that they do. One may believe that as an institutional matter, the creation of same-sex marriage is mistaken, yet also believe that a committed and legally enforceable same-sex union is superior to homosexual promiscuity.
What think ye?