Jennifer Brown (UCL) - 2014-15 Students

What is the proper role of religion in the public sphere? – Religious arguments and the gay marriage debate

The question of how should we approach religious arguments regarding issues that are at once secular and religious is both timely and important. Although the sacred and secular elements of marriage are conceptually distinct, they are still tightly connected. In the gay marriage debate, religious organisations lay claim to the right to define marriage, whilst the state reserves the right to grant or withhold its legal recognition. Since marriage confers many benefits, denying it to certain citizens raises questions of justice. In this project I wish to question whether religious claims to define marriage are appropriate, given the principle of state neutrality, and whether they are justified, given the meaning of marriage in a post-secular society.

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