SW 500/501 Writing Workshop #1. Brought to you by the SSW Writing Team: Jim Leighty SocW 500 Day Subject Tutor Gina Mendoza SocW 500 (EDP) Subject Tutor Erin Harrop SocW 501 Subject Tutor Julia Schneider MSW Day/BASW Writing Tutor Jenny Walden EDP Writing Tutor.
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Brought to you by the SSW Writing Team:
SocW 500 Day Subject Tutor
SocW 500 (EDP) Subject Tutor
SocW 501 Subject Tutor
MSW Day/BASW Writing Tutor
EDP Writing Tutor
As you work through the theoretical readings, the challenge is to apply how theory/ideology informs the current discourse related to your issue.
Same-sex marriage is a point of cultural, legal and religious tension in America. It first became an issue of public policy in 1993, when a Hawaiian court found that the state's constitution required "a compelling a reason not to extend to gays equal marriage rights" (“A brief history, ” para 6). Since then, issues of same-sex marriage, civil unions, domestic partnerships, and gay rights have become a constant topic of cultural debate, and one that has played out in both the courtrooms and the voting booths. With the exception of the U.S. Congress passage of the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 (which prevented homosexual couples from receiving the benefits traditionally conferred by marriage), most of the legal battles for same-sex marriage have occurred in individual states, leading to arguments about proper passage for such bills (i.e. voter approval vs. judicial review) and what role the state should play, if any, in promoting social justice.
While neo-liberal arguments against same-sex marriage tend to focus on the power of negative liberty and state intervention, social liberals accept moderate state intervention in social affairs if it can “enhance the freedom of the individual and to secure the good of the community” (Taylor, 2006). Liberal arguments focus on the protection that R-71 provides to families of same-sex partners and its importance for societal stability – not on its implications for social justice. One basic tenet of liberalism is the pursuit of “equality of opportunities” rather than “equality of outcomes” (p. #).
STATEMENT IN THE MEDIA:
In an editorial for the Seattle Times, community member Arnie Bishop specifically addresses the importance of Referendum 71, saying, “With two children to raise, we are especially cognizant of the security that equal access to rights regarding Social Security, inheritance, pension and custody would bring to our family” (Bishop, 2009).
See bottom of p. 5
Gingrich’s assertion that big government should not be a tool for social reform echoes classic neo-liberal ideology, which warns against the state’s involvement in moral affairs. Taylor (2006) expands upon this idea, writing, “For neo-liberals, it makes no sense for the state to promote social justice. Such ideas are thought to run counter to the natural order of things and tend to be designed by those who have very little understanding of the values embraced by their fellow citizens.”
STATEMENT IN THE MEDIA:
Responding to Iowa’s same-sex marriage ruling on ABC’s This Week, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich expressed concerns about the state taking an active role in distributing justice, rather than doing so through voter-approved measures. He said, “there is not a single case of the state not ultimately deciding in favor of traditional marriage if it’s a popular vote. . . it's very dangerous for the country to have the judiciary become the chief agent of social change” (“Gingrich: the fix is in,” 2009).
See bottom of p. 2
Because the state has such an active role in managing marriage, I believe that legalization of same-sex marriage must come from the state itself, not from popular vote . . . I agree with social democrats that it is necessary for the government to take an active role in preserving equality, if for no other reason than it ensures a healthier, more stable society . . . Rawls points out that, from a social democratic perspective, “expanding the range of opportunities open to people therefore ‘. . . not only subtracts from inequality, but adds to freedom’” (Taylor, 2006). Regardless of their ideological differences, neo-liberals, liberals and social democrats see value in preserving individual freedom and state stability. Because same-sex marriage enhances both the former and (by association) the latter, there is a legal and moral imperative to allow it, and one that requires government intervention.