Watson on "John Locke and the Evangelical Retreat from Marriage"


Micah Watson, writing at The Public Discourse, argues that John Locke’s philosophy gives no support to those who would seek to endorse same-sex civil marriage:

"Gushee is quite right to point out that a crucial part of Locke’s project was to protect religious belief and practice from the meddling of government. Apart from that, however, nearly every component of his argument is wrong or, at best, very misleading. First, he is mistaken in asserting that Locke’s conception of government ruled out what we call morals legislation. Throughout his many works Locke emphatically denied that adopting religious toleration meant tolerating what he referred to, sans euphemism, as adultery, debauchery, sodomy, and promiscuity. Professor Gushee reports that it is his reading of Locke’s Second Treatise that has revolutionized his approach to public policy, but Professor Gushee should also read Locke’s First Treatise, section 59, where he writes that adultery and sodomy violate the law of nature because they threaten the “security of the marriage bed,” which he links explicitly to procreation."