Williams, R. Ethic Theory Moral Prac (2011) 14: 589. doi:10.1007/s10677-010-9261-8
Some argue that same-sex marriage is not an equal rights issue because, where same-sex marriage is illegal, heterosexuals and homosexuals have the exact same right to marry—i.e., the right to marry one adult of the opposite sex. I dispute this argument by pointing out that while societies that prohibit same-sex marriage equally permit individual heterosexuals and homosexuals to marry one adult of the opposite sex, same-sex couples in such societies are denied an important right that opposite-sex couples enjoy—i.e., the right to marry. I argue that the right to marry is fundamentally, not an individual right, but a couple’s collective right, analogous to assembly rights.
Same-sex marriageEqualityDiscriminationIndividual rightsCollective rightsMarriage rights