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Human Rights and Common GoodCollected Essays Volume III$
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John Finnis

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199580071

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199580071.001.0001

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Marriage: A Basic and Exigent Good

Marriage: A Basic and Exigent Good

(p.317) 20 Marriage: A Basic and Exigent Good
Human Rights and Common Good

John Finnis

Oxford University Press

This chapter is the author's fullest single treatment of marriage, as an act, a state and way of life, and as an institution. Its starting point is the way in which marriage is a basic human good, with a twofold point: procreation and friendship — the most far-reaching form of togetherness possible for human beings and the most radical and creative enabling of another person to flourish by bringing that person into existence. The marital act is a mating which actualizes, expresses, and enables the spouses to experience their marriage itself in each of its essentials dimensions. Modern myths about mediaeval attitudes to pleasure in marital intercourse are cleared away. ‘Same-sex marriage’ is no marriage, as invalid arguments are no argument and quack medicines not medicinal, but modern civil, dissoluble marriage is highly defective, as is the polygamy for which ‘same-sex marriage’ clears the way.

Keywords:   marriage, basic human good, marital act, procreation, friendship, sexual pleasure, same-sex marriage, polygamy, dissolubility

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