Ideally, any decision or action taken by an individual or a group is either justified or unjustified within the context of justice. Accordingly, justice is generally determined by the society or norm; however, norm changes from society to society. Therefore, in some instances what appeared to be just in one society may not necessarily be just in another. Justice can be viewed in two special ways, individual justice and social justice. Individual justice has to do with one’s moral behavior on issues involving goods or property; for instances, it is just for someone not to steal. Social justice refers to group justice or justice of institutions or of society. For example, it is said to be just when economic benefits are distributed to group members in accordance to the standard economic framework of that society. Nonetheless, a review of the literature unravels contrasting among intellectuals on varying perceptions of justice (Distributive Justice and Justice as a Virtue).
This type of high emotional contrasting views of justice is apparent when dealing with Gay Marriage. In his 2013 World Day Peace address, Pope Benedict XVI announced that gay marriage constitutes a threat to justice and peace. He maintained that marriage represent natural structure as a union of a man and a woman, therefore the move by certain interest to equate this to same sex marriage is an abominable act that is in contrast to the true nature of man, as such, it presents serious damage to justice and serenity (Threat to Justice and Peace).
In lieu of evidence of the literature reviewed above in relation to how justice is viewed by the various intellectual communities, the pope’s statement undoubtedly presents a compelling debate. As regarding ongoing argument on gay marriage, others view is that justice is best served when marriages, gay or otherwise are treated equally before the law. This therefore gives credence that Justice is based on societal perception or norm. If one society or a societal grouping hold that it is normal for same sex marriage, and is therefore just; what right has the other to denounce their value of justice. Hence, justice is best viewed in the eye of the beholder. Quite naturally, we all have different attitudes about right and wrongs.
What the pope perceived as being abominable and, therefore, threat to world peace, may in fact be viewed by some as being just and a safeguard to world peace. As there is divergence of opinions within intellectual circles, so also are the factors to consider. These can be premised in two fold; on the one hand, the pope and those that support his views are justified on account of the societal norm upon which their judgment is based. On the other hand, those who disagreed and, therefore, champion same sex marriage are equally vindicated by virtue of their value judgment which translate to their feel of justice. It is their free will to choose a sexual orientation of their choice in keeping with their societal norm, in as much that they are not in violation of statutory laws. It is prudent, in my opinion that each segment of debate be allowed to enjoy their measure of justice, in so doing that they do not infringe on the rights of the other.
Mosbergen, D. (Dec. 14, 2012). Pope Says Gay Marriage Poses A Threat To “Justice And Peace”.
Retrieved from: www.huffingtonpost.com/…/pope-gay-marriage Justice as a Virtue (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). Retrieved from: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/justice-virtue
Distributive Justice (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). Retrieved from: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/justice-virtue