Feminism and philosophy Gay and Lesbian Families as a Model

Essay by melizzaCollege, UndergraduateC+, November 2004

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By saying that gay and lesbian couples provide a more just model of family life than heterosexual families, Okin begins to establish the differences between both heterosexual and homosexual relationships, and their effects on the family. Okin illustrates these differences in family life by discussing the traditional and more patriarchal view of the family that is characterized by the gendered division of labor in heterosexual relationships. Okins opinion that homosexual families provide a more just model of family life is supported by the non-existence of gender divided labor. She shows this by discussing the differences in the modern (homosexual) and traditional (heterosexual) relationships, and shows how the idea of gender roles are sustained by heterosexuals and almost altogether eliminated in homosexual relationships. Essentially, Okin exhibits that a more egalitarian relationship leads to a more just model of family life. This egalitarian relationship is usually established in homosexual relationships, presenting a more ideal family environment than heterosexual couples.

She exemplifies this model of family life through different aspects in which homosexual and heterosexual families have opposing principles.

In her essay, Okin argues in opposition to the opinion that homosexual relationships are established as 'anti-family' and 'anti-marriage'. This is evidenced in the first line pertaining to the modeling of homosexual families. She begins, "I shall argue... that, rather than constituting the grave threat to "the family" that many courts... have considered them, in some important respects homosexual relationships can serve as a model at a time at which forms of family are undergoing rapid change" (Okin 42). Okin continues to say that "homosexual couples may provide a particularly good model of parenthood" (Okin 43). Okin presents the fact that although homosexual couples are mostly legally unable to establish families, they provide several significantly different characteristics to the family than heterosexual families present.