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Is it right or wrong? Should there be laws for or against it?

asked Sep 25 '10 at 11:03

Tammy's gravatar image

Tammy ♦♦
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When one asks a question which begins with "Is there an Objectivist position on..." such and such an issue, I take it to mean "as an Objectivist, what is your position on..." that issue. As opposed to "What is Objectivism's position on this issue," which would be the same as asking "Did Ayn Rand or one of her sponsored/endorsed writers have a position on that issue". I just wanted to add that clarifying distinction so that people who read the responses know whether the position being expressed is that of the author of the post or of Ayn Rand, in cases where that distinction is not made obvious or explicitly stated in the reply.

Regards, -Sev

(Sep 26 '10 at 02:22) Sev ♦ Sev's gravatar image

Objectivism is the philosophy of Ayn Rand. According to OPAR, P346:

"The subject of sex is complex and belongs largely to the science of psychology. I asked Ayn Rand once what philosophy specifically has to say on the subject. She answered: 'It says that sex is good.'"

As to what KIND of sex and with whom, Ayn Rand regarded those as psychological, rather than a philosophical questions. Since there is no such thing as "Objectivist psychology," there is no Objectivist position on same-sex marriage.

(Sep 26 '10 at 02:34) BetsySpeicher BetsySpeicher's gravatar image

"As opposed to 'What is Objectivism's position on this issue,' which would be the same as asking 'Did Ayn Rand or one of her sponsored/endorsed writers have a position on that issue'."

No, it wouldn't. Objectivism is a philosophy, and there are many things Rand said that aren't part of philosophy. Had she taken a view on gay marriage, it would not be "the Objectivist position on gay marriage" any more than her preference for Rachmaninoff constituted the Objectivist position on composers.

(Sep 26 '10 at 11:22) Publius ♦ Publius's gravatar image

"No, it wouldn't. Objectivism is a philosophy, and there are many things Rand said that aren't part of philosophy. Had she taken a view on gay marriage, it would not be "the Objectivist position on gay marriage" any more than her preference for Rachmaninoff constituted the Objectivist position on composers."

Yes, you are correct in that everything Ayn Rand said is not part of her formal philosophy, any more than anything Kira said in We the Living was part of Objectivism (the only official literary spokesman for Objectivism is John Galt--and I'm sure everyone would agree that only what He says, as an explicit philosophical statement, constitutes part of Objectivism). If it were, then people could, among other things, nit-pick everything they thought Ayn Rand said privately (based on what people reported or published in their own books/memoirs), and try to compare it with her written and published work, to find inconsistencies.

What I meant to say, and the context which I believe you dropped in your response, was 'Did Ayn Rand or one of her sponsored/endorsed writers have a <written, published="" philosophical=""> position on that issue.'

Having said that, I do agree that in both cases--one's view of gay marriage and one's preference for musical composers, are both subject matter areas which, while they can be arrived at as consequence of one's philosophy--on one's hierarchically prior views on all the relevant branches of philosophy--nevertheless they do not or would not constitute part of one's explicit written philosophy proper.

Thank you for helping me clarify the distinction which I outlined in my original post, and which I believe is still important for people to understand when asking questions on this site and interpreting the answers.

Perhaps I should submit a question which would get other answerers to further flesh-out this distinction for the benefit of future questions.

Regards, -Sev

(Sep 26 '10 at 12:54) Sev ♦ Sev's gravatar image

BetsyS writes: "...there is no Objectivist position on same-sex marriage."

there is no properly Objectivist position on the subject of equal protection (of rights, including contractual rights) under the law?

(Sep 26 '10 at 14:14) Chris Cathcart Chris%20Cathcart's gravatar image
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In his lecture Love, Sex and Romance (CD, Internet Course), Leonard Peikoff briefly commented on this issue in a broader question about the nature of marriage (1:08:57 - 1:12:57), an excerpt of which I have transcribed below.

A marriage is a public declaration to a society that you two are to be treated as one. And the state is properly involved in granting such a status because it is, in significant part, a legal relationship.

There is the marriage contract that you sign. And the state has every right -- let me say, counter to the libertarians -- to decide who should be able to sign this type of contract. I do not think, for instance, if an uncle and his two 12 year-old nieces come in and say, "We want to get married," the state should say, "Well, you know, contracts are private. Here's a marriage license." Even with consenting adults, if two women and a man come in, I think the state has a perfect justification [to deny them], or if two men come in. I don't believe in gay marriage. I believe that it's proper, since this is a special, state-sanctioned relationship, that some standards be applied in the granting of this type of license. But that's a whole separate question.

But why it's contractual is obvious from a thousand type of eventualities that occur once you go beyond being, you know, conjoint tenants to being husband and wife. You have made a lifetime union, theoretically. And then all these questions [such as] children, and who gets custody if there's a dispute; and what happens if you die intestate; and who gets what; and even taxes, whether you file jointly. And I think the same thing would be true with voluntary taxes. They still have to know who do they take as a unit that's doing the paying. There has to be some idea when people become a unit and when they don't. That's necessary for commercial, for legal, for every other type of transaction. And from this point of view, it is not the state nosing into something that's not its business.

Although I agree with Peikoff's comments on marriage in general (such as his position that standards must be applied), I cannot agree with his position on gay marriage without elaboration on what basis he validates his standards for granting marriage licenses.

He reiterates his position on gay marriage in this podcast in response to the question "What are your thoughts on California Proposition 8 which states that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized?" However, he voted against the proposition. Again, below is my transcription.

One side argued, in essence, to bar gay marriage as legal. And the other side, to uphold. And what side do I take? I say that both sides, in this context, were wrong. The anti-gay marriage side was pushed and defended entirely on religious grounds. It was heavily backed by the Mormons, among others, and would have represented, if it had passed, a big victory for the anti-abortionists and potential religious totalitarians. On the other side, I agree that it is wrong to make society equate gay marriage with regular marriage. But out of the two, gay marriage, in my judgment, is of no threat, no harm to society at all. I know several gay marriages of either sex that are perfectly fine people. I don't see any problem there. But religion is a major threat, and therefore I had no doubts and no problem at all in voting in favor of gay marriage as a means of holding back religion. Unfortunately, we lost.

answered Oct 21 '10 at 01:24

BMV's gravatar image

BMV ♦
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edited Oct 22 '10 at 22:59

There are some excellent answers here:

http://objectivistanswers.com/questions/8/is-homosexuality-moral

answered Sep 25 '10 at 11:39

Radical_for_Capitalism's gravatar image

Radical_for_Capitalism ♦
804

That's a good starting point, but answers to that question do not provide a sufficient answer to this question. The fact that a type of relationship may be moral implies that the state should permit it but not that the state should sanction it. Elaboration is necessary.

(Oct 21 '10 at 02:52) BMV ♦ BMV's gravatar image

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Asked: Sep 25 '10 at 11:03

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Last updated: Oct 22 '10 at 22:59