Fourth Annual Lester Kissel Lecture in Ethics by Stephen Macedo


Thursday, February 11, 2016, 5:00pm to 6:30pm


Harvard Hall, Room 202, Harvard Yard

“No Slippery Slopes: Same-Sex Couples, Monogamy, and the Future of Marriage”

Will same-sex marriage lead to more radical marriage reform? Should it? Conservatives warn of a slippery slope from same-sex marriage toward polygamy, adult incest, and the dissolution of marriage as we know it; many progressives embrace these changes. I argue that both sides are wrong: the same principles of democratic justice that demand marriage equality for same sex couples also lend support to monogamous marriage. I explore the meaning of contemporary marriage and the reasons for both its fragility and its enduring significance.

Stephen Macedo is the Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Politics and the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University, where he has also been the Founding Director of the Program on Law and Public Affairs (1999-2001), and Director of the University Center for Human Values (2001-2009).  He writes and teaches on political theory, ethics, American constitutionalism, and public policy.  His books include Liberal Virtues: Citizenship, Virtue, and Community in Liberal Constitutionalism (Oxford University, 1990); Diversity and Distrust: Civic Education in a Multicultural Democracy (Harvard University, 2000); the co-authored Democracy at Risk: How Political Choices Undermine Citizen Participation, and What We Can Do About It (Brookings Institution Press, 2005); and Just Married: Same-Sex Couples, Monogamy, and the Future of Marriage (Princeton University Press, 2015).  He is editor or co-editor of 15 books on topics ranging from the legacy of the 1960’s to universal jurisdiction in international law.  He is Vice President of the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy (2016), former Vice President of the American Political Science Association, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.