PHIL 338:  Study Questions on Topic #8: A Right Against

Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual or Gender Expression

 

 

1. Article 2 of the UNUDHR says:  "Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or other status."  Is it reasonable to believe that there is such a broad moral right against discrimination?  Explain.

 

2. (a) In class we discussed the Santorum position on discrimination on the basis of sexual or gender expression.  According to Santorum, what is the important disanalogy between discrimination on the basis of sexual or gender expression and discrimination on the basis of race, sex, or nationality?  (b) Do you agree with Santorum that the disanalogy justifies discrimination on the basis of sexual or gender expression?  Explain.  

 

3. In Lawrence v. Texas, what kind of statutes did the U.S. Supreme Court declare to be unconstitutional?  (b) In Justice Scalia's dissent, he made a slippery slope argument in which he listed nine examples of laws that would be overturned by the reasoning of the Court in Lawrence.  Pick one of his examples and explain why the logic of Lawrence v. Texas does not apply to it.  (c) Pick one of his examples and explain why the logic of Lawrence v. Texas does apply to it.

 

4.  (a) Lee and George discuss three views in sexual ethics, the liberationist view, the liberal view, and the traditional view.  Explain them.  (b) Lee and George defend the traditional view.  Each of the other two views generates an objection to the traditional view that Lee and George respond to.  Explain each of the two objections and explain Lee and George’s response. 

 

5.  (a) According to Lee and George, what is special about monogamous, heterosexual human relationships?  (b) According to Lee and George, why would each of the acts on Scalia’s list be wrong?  (c) According to Lee and George, what other kinds of acts would be wrong?  Explain.

 

6. (a) Explain why act utilitarianism might justify laws prohibiting homosexual couples from socializing in public.  (b) Explain why J.S. Mill would disagree with the act utilitarian on this issue.