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Welfare and Liberty

Welfare and Liberty

The most outstanding example outlined by Sandel is the “Same-Sex Marriage” example. As displayed in this chapter, Sandel explores the possibility of detaching the intrinsic moral permissibility of sexuality from the intended purpose of marriage institutions. Based on the same-sex marriage proponents, same-sex marriage can be pursued in society without any moral or religious controversial setbacks if rationalized based on liberal and nonjudgmental grounds (Sandel, 2010). Therefore, any contrary perceptions towards allowing same-sex marriage are considered absolute discrimination against homosexuals while favouring heterosexuals. From a legal perspective, proponents of same-sex marriage argue their defence based on equality of the law, which is denied when the government fails to recognize same-sex marriage institutions.

Nevertheless, state-driven policies can be adopted for the entire marriage institution to pursue the big question of “if same-sex marriage is worth honoring and recognition” (Sandel, 2011). These policies include disestablishing marriage, making it a non-state function majorly controlled by private stakeholders such as churches and other religious institutions. Fair play in this is alluded to by Kinsley, who argues that the privatization of marriage function would eliminate all possible disputes relating to same-sex marriage. As the law serves its purpose using this policy, neither heterosexual nor homosexual marriage would be sanctioned by the government. Justifiably, unsanctioned marriage would, however, result in marital issues relating to finances, insurance, child support, and inheritance being handled using domestic partnership laws (Sandel, 2010). Therefore, society would not evaluate same-sex marriage from moral or religious lenses, or both; rather, the government would eliminate any conferment to family unit or honourable marriage title, thus helping the society to engage in discussions relating to the telos of marriage. This example, as utilized by Sandel, was the best because it rendered insights relating to the most controversial social debates in the world, where ethics and morality cross paths in advocacy.


Sandel, M. (2010). Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? Penguin Books Limited.

Sandel, M. J. (2011). Distinguished Lecture Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do. Boston University Law Review, 91(4), 1303–1310.


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In Chapter 1, Sandel used a number of examples to argue for the idea that welfare and liberty don’t exhaust a true definition of justice.

Welfare and Liberty

Welfare and Liberty

I talked about the price-gouging example, but there were many. What was your favourite example and why?
Reading 1: Michael Sandel’s Justice Ch. 1

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