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International Journal of Applied Philosophy

Volume 25, Issue 2, Fall 2011

Christopher Arroyo
Pages 171-186
DOI: 10.5840/ijap201125216

Same-Sex Marriage, ‘Homosexual Desire,’ and the Capacity to Love

The issue of same-sex marriage continues to be controversial in the United States. Opponents of same-sex marriage offer a variety of objections in defense of their position. One such objection (which I identify as the Inability to Love objection, or ILO) is that legalizing same-sex marriage would promote a counterfeit good (homosexual marriage) as a genuine good (heterosexual marriage), since homosexuals are incapable of genuine, full erotic love. Proponents of ILO argue that homosexuals are incapable of genuine erotic love because all homosexual relationships lack genuine sexual and affective complementarity. Relying on the arguments of Gareth Moore, I argue against ILO, claiming that it rests on an erroneous conception of desire. Once this conception of desire is corrected, the myth of “homosexual desire” is debunked and along with it the main argument in support of the claim that homosexuals are incapable of love.