Justa quick response to Deborah Hellman - I appreciate your kind words and I recognize the difficulties in forging some kind of consensus when people have such differing views on the nature of the good and human flourishing, but the
assumption that equality doctrine or equality principles can ensure that justice be done because we can all agree that people need to be treated with equal respect fails to understand the most basic argument that opponents of same sex marriage make. To those who have differing opinions than me (and probably most readers of this blog) about the nature of the good with regard to marriage, it makes no sense to say same sex “unions” should be treated the same as heterosexual “unions.” To many opponents of same sex marriage, the essence of the union is its heterosexual nature. The fundamental debate over marriage in this country is, for many, a disagreement about whether the phrase “genderless marriage” is an oxymoron, or an ideal for which we all should be striving. To assume that you can elide that disagreement by simply saying all marriages are “unions” is to assume away the basic disagreement about the essence of marriage.