Transformational Marriage: The Religious Case For Supporting Same-Sex Marriage

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter questions the view that recent legalizations of same-sex marriage in the West reflect a simple triumph of secular over Judeo-Christian values. On this view, cases like Obergefell v. Hodges sit at the center of a culture war between religious and secular values. Obergefell is, however, equally the result of an understudied expansion in the religious and spiritual functions of marriage. “Transformational marriage”—a concept distilled from Pope Francis’s writings—is a recently emergent social institution, which aims to transform early romantic desire into the more mature capacities for love needed to attain greater personal communion with God or the divine, however conceived. Its value is non-parochial but depends on a cultural link between romantic love, personal choice, intimate satisfaction and marriage. Given this link’s recent historical emergence, there are now religious and spiritual costs to opposing same-sex marriage of a transformational variety. Scriptural grounds for opposing same-sex marriage do not apply to this new institution. Hence, debates over same-sex marriage need not remain a permanent fixture in the culture wars between religious and secular values.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Contested Place of Religion in Family Law
EditorsRobin Fretwell Wilson
PublisherCambridge University Press
ISBN (Print)9781108405508
StatePublished - Aug 2019


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