‘Economist’ debate between Wolfson/Gallagher scheduled for January 3, 2011

Posted on economist.com:

"In most societies marriage is considered a fundamental institution. Yet in the past half-century this institution has undergone tremendous change. In the West, the roles of husband and wife have been redefined, interracial marriage has been legalised and divorce has become more common. More change now seems likely, as marriage equality slowly gains acceptance in many parts of the world. When The Economist came out in favour of marriage equality in 1996, no country gave same-sex couples the full right of marriage. When we reiterated our argument eight years later, only two countries—Belgium and the Netherlands—had given full legal status to same-sex unions. Today ten countries fully recognise and perform marriages of same-sex couples.

"But while the direction of change is clear, movement is not inevitable. In America, especially, the debate about the freedom to marry rages on. Supporters say it is a matter of equal rights and acceptance, and that allowing same-sex couples to marry promotes social stability. These arguments carried the day in a California courtroom last year, when a federal judge ruled that there is no 'legitimate (much less compelling) reason' to deny gay couples this 'fundamental right'. But opponents of marriage equality have won many more victories elsewhere in America, and their concerns are often shared by opponents abroad. ... The irony is that both sides acknowledge the overwhelming importance of marriage. But that is about all they agree on, and the profundity of the issue has merely stoked the debate.

"This debate will happen online, and starts on January 3rd 2011. You can sign up for email alerts to be notified when this debate begins."

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