The Southern Journal of Philosophy

Volume 47, Issue 1, Spring 2009

Jim Vernon
Pages 69-89

Free Love
A Hegalian Defense of Same-Sex Marriage Rights

By revisiting Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, I mount a Hegelian defense of same-sex marriage rights. I first argue that Hegel’s account of the Idea of freedom articulates both the necessity of popular shifts in the determinations of the institutions of right, as well as the duty to struggle to progressively actualize freedom through them. I then contend that Hegel, by grounding marriage in free consent, clears the path for expanding this ethical institution to include all monogamous couples. Lastly, I close by sketching the specifically Hegelian reasons we ought to actively struggle to expand the institution of marriage.