Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Fall 2009

Abstract

Many threads of American political thought rely on two distinct moral and political philosophies: Natural Law and Political Liberalism. The first teaches that there exists objective moral truth and that this truth is discoverable through human rationality alone; this causes it to teach that the legitimacy of laws is based on their adherence to the truth. The second teaches that a diversity of comprehensive moral views is inevitable in a free society and that these views must be respected; this causes it to teach that the legitimacy of laws lies in their removal from any specific comprehensive view. This paper presents both philosophies and analyzes them in light of each other. It also presents an argument, based in Natural Law, against governmental recognition of same-sex marriage, as a tool to further explain the tenets of Natural Law and how Political Liberalism might respond to them.

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