Framing classroom discussion of same-sex marriage

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Assuming that the issue of same-sex marriage should be discussed in schools, how should the discussion be framed? I first distinguish this question from the related but distinct question of whether discussion on this topic should be steered. I then examine three possible frames for discussion of same-sex marriage: the perfectionist frame, the anti-perfectionist frame and the practical accommodation frame. I defend the perfectionist frame over the two alternatives: the purpose of state involvement in marriage is to promote valuable forms of intimate relationship, so the case for enabling same-sex couples to marry turns on the ethical claim that same-sex and opposite-sex intimate relationships are similarly valuable. Interrogation of this ethical claim must be central to classroom discussion of same-sex marriage.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)497-510
Number of pages14
JournalEducational Theory
Issue number5
Early online date17 Oct 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • same-sex marriage, discussion, values, controversial issue, perfectionism, anti-perfectionism, practical accommodation, epistemic criterion