Instructions: write on all four cases. Your analysis for each should be between one-half and one page long.
1. Same Sex Marriage As of today, 37 states (plus the District of Columbia, the Coquille Indian Tribe, and the Suquamish tribe) recognize same sex marriage. Thirteen states have amended their state constitutions to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Gay marriage is not recognized by federal law, though in 2009, the Congressional Budget Office extended employment benefits to same-sex domestic partners of federal employees. But, the federal government does not yet recognize same sex marriage. And, in thirteen states, as the law stands right now, same sex couples do not have the same privileges as heterosexual, married couples. Married couples have certain automatic rights by virtue of their being married, including rights of survivorship, automatic power of attorney, hospital visiting privileges, etc. In light of this, consider the case of Goodridge v. Department of Health (2003) on pages 271-2 in our text. Answer the questions at the end of the case.
2. Consider the case, Boy Scouts of America v. Dale (2000) on pages 273-274 in our text and answer the discussion questions at the end.
3. Intersexuals. (See Alice Domurat Dreger, Hermaphrodites and the Medical Invention of Sex, Harvard University Press, 1998.) Although it is often assumed that there are only two biological sexes, male and female, this is not the case. There is a third category, intersexuals or “hermaphrodites.” According to medical texbooks, there are three types of intersexuals: l) true hermaphrodites with one testis and one ovary, 2) male pseudohermaphrodites who have testes and some aspects of female genitalia but no ovaries, and 3) female pseudohermaphrodites who have ovaries and some aspects of male genitalia but no testes.
It is difficult to estimate the frequency of intersexuality, but Dr. John Money of Johns Hopkins University, a specialist in the study of congenital sexual-organ abnormalities, claims that intersexuals constitute about 4 percent of births. These means that thousands are born every year. But few survive as such. Recent advances in physiology and surgery allow doctors to change intersexuals into males or females. Unisexual infants are identified at birth, and immediately entered into a program of hormonal and surgical treatment that turns them into so-called normal heterosexual males or females.
Professor Alice Dreger thinks that this practice is abusive and wrong. Doctors have simply invented the two-sex system, and are imposing it on babies without their knowledge or consent. Do you agree with Dreger? Should intersexuals be made into males or females, or should we allow them to be different?
4. Petit v. State Board of Education (1973). Mrs. Petit was a special education teacher in the public school system. She and her husband joined a private club in Los Angeles called The Swingers. An undercover policeman attended a private party during which Mrs. Petit was observed in several acts of oral sex. She was arrested, charged with oral copulation under the California Penal Code, and jailed. She pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of outraging public decency. After disciplinary proceedings, her teaching credentials were revoked on the grounds that her conduct involved moral turpitude. Although Mrs. Petit petitioned the courts to order the State Board of Education to restore her teaching credentials, the courts denied her request. Is oral sex morally wrong or not? Justify your answer. If it is wrong, then should it be illegal? And if it is illegal (as it is in many states), then how should the law be enforced?