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In May 2013, Oprah Winfrey Network published a TV talk show in which three guests: Mark Nepo, Elizabeth Lesser, and Rev. Ed Bacon discuss two moral issues on gay marriage in America. The host, Oprah Winfrey introduces the show, providing background statistics on the growing support for gay marriage in the world and in the United States. Her voice-over explains that besides the District of Columbia, only twelve states permitted marriage between people of the same sex in the US by then. However, she notes that more states were getting ready to also amend their laws; and surveys suggested a dramatic shift in the social tide. Oprah further explained that a poll conducted in 1996 indicated that 27% of people living in America were for gay marriage. Comparatively, she states that the percentage rose to 53 in 2012. With that, she directs the attention of the guests to the moral issues. The first issue is whether the growing acceptance of gay marriages is an outcome of a cultural shift or a social revolution. The second issue is whether legalizing gay marriage in more states would make it necessary to reconsider the institution of marriage.
The panelists agree that the prevailing gay marriage situation in the US is both a cultural shift and a social revolution. Nepo argues gay marriage should have been accepted in America a long time ago. But that never happened until the people suffered enough to open their hearts and willingly accept it. For Lesser, the growing support for gay marriages is a huge social change considering that when she grew up, no one talked about homosexuality. There were no opinions about gays because the society hardly talked about them. According to her, it takes getting close to a gay to truly appreciate that like everyone else, they want to love, partners, families and a good life. Arguably, she suggests that people discriminate against gays because their lifestyle or sexual orientation is unfamiliar to the society. Therefore, the panel concludes that social revolution and cultural shift being witnessed in the USA is because of exposure to the humanity of the gay people.
On the second moral issue, Rev. Bacon dismisses the argument that legalizing gay marriage in more states would weaken the institution of marriage in America. Instead, he argues that marriage would be enriched because gays do not interfere with marriages of straight couples. To the contrary, their love teaches straight people how better to love their wives and husbands. Also, gay couples and their children live normally as the rest of the community. The panelists also hold that troubles with the institution of marriage began long before gays were getting married in the United States. As such, they conclude that legalization of gay marriage in more states will not threaten but strengthen the marriage institution.
The panelists appear to use the deontological theory to address the first moral issue as they primarily focus on demonstrating that the growing acceptance of gay marriages in America is right. For the second issue, they appear to use the utilitarian theory because their arguments try to explain how legalization of gay marriages would affect the marriage institution. The resolutions that the panelist give to the two moral issues are both satisfactory. I do not consider leveling any objection to the production.
Gay Marriage: Social Revolution or Cultural Shift? | SuperSoul Sunday | Oprah Winfrey Network." YouTube. May 26, 2013. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73DJzcr5zwk.
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