Same-Sex Marriage and Equality … Again The Collectivist Argument

Main Article Content

Richard McDonough


Williams accepts that McDonough’s Logical Argument (MLA) that homosexuals have always had the same marriage rights as heterosexuals, namely the right to marry one eligible adult of the opposite gender, is correct at the individual level, but holds that it is wrong at the “collective” level because the homosexual couple qua couple is not treated equally with heterosexual couples. The present paper argues that Williams’ counterargument fails. First, Williams’ argument from analogy, that the right to marry is relevantly analogous to the right to assemble, fails. Second, Williams fails to give any meaning to the view that the homosexual couple qua couple marries, which, therefore, turns out to be a misleading way of saying that the individuals that make up the couple marry, which returns one to the individual level at which, Williams admits, there is no inequality. The paper then argues that Williams’ “collectivist ascent”, coupled with the appeal to equality, commits one to a species of polygamy so extreme that actual polygamists would reject it. Finally, the paper argues that Williams’ claim that MLA is inconsistent with an appeal to equality to justify same-sex marriage misunderstands MLA. MLA only argues against the attempt to justify same-sex marriage by simple logical inference. It is not inconsistent with the view that same marriage can be made an equal right via the democratic process.

Article Details

How to Cite
McDonough, R. (2020). Same-Sex Marriage and Equality … Again: The Collectivist Argument. Humanities Bulletin, 3(2), 107–119. Retrieved from

Most read articles by the same author(s)

Obs.: This plugin requires at least one statistics/report plugin to be enabled. If your statistics plugins provide more than one metric then please also select a main metric on the admin's site settings page and/or on the journal manager's settings pages.