Confucian Morality in Modern Times

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International Relations Expert and Confucian Scholar, Dr Rosita Dellios shares her opinion on how Confucianism can be investigated in the realm of same-sex marriage .

“There is nothing in the Analects of Confucius that directly addresses the topic of same sex marriage; however it is definitely a subject worth investigating. Confucianism when adapted to modern society has the capacity to accept same sex marriage because it is a social construct and enhances social relationships in a harmonious way.

According to Confucian thought and traditional Chinese society, reciprocal social roles and obligations define the human, not their sex. A person’s reproductive body is not the primary basis of distinction. Marriage concerns two families joining and performing their roles in the continuity of Chinese lineage. A women’s primary function as wife is responsibility for ritual affairs – attending to the ceremonies for the ancestors. The wife was part of the patrolineage, but this did not necessary entail having children. If she was unable to have children, a concubine could be acquired for giving birth to a son in order to maintain the family line, and to help the wife in ceremonial responsibilities to the ancestors.

As to the husband-wife relationship of the five key relationships, it is better understood as a partnership for the family unit as the most important unit of society, one on which the government is dependent if it is to be a virtuous Confucian government which wants to enhance harmony of roles and responsibilities.”

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