Suppose that state same-sex marriage bans are held not to violate federal constitutional guarantees, but that one state nonetheless recognizes such unions. The other states will be permitted to refuse to recognize marriages celebrated in that state only if certain conditions have been met. Contrary view notwithstanding, the law of nature exception will not apply in this case. Further, even the Defense of Marriage Act will likely not afford states the right to refuse to recognize any and all same-sex marriages validly celebrated in sister states.
This entails several contentions. First he argues that the contemporary relevance of Aristotelian naturalism can be defended within the context of a pragmatic realism without recourse to a no-longer-tenable metaphysical biology. Second, he calls for an emphasis on a historicized nature--the human capacities for language, sociality, and habituation that are the product of biological-cultural interaction in human evolution. Third, Hoy contends that, while humans are perceived as the apex of other forms of life, a compassionate relation of humans to non-human nature is a logical extension of human community and moral obligation. His final contention is that an integrative framework for a naturalistic political theory can be formulated within the theoretical categories contributed by John Dewey. Scholars and students of political theory, philosophy, evolutionary biology, and deep ecology in particular will find this study of interest.
By distinguishing between philosophy and ideology, by recalling the historical adventures of natural law, and by reviewing the theoretical problems involved in the doctrine, Simon clarifies much of the confusion surrounding this perennial debate. He tackles the questions raised by the application of natural law with skill and honesty as he faces the difficulties of the subject.
Simon warns against undue optimism in a revival of interest in natural law and insists that the study of natural law beings with the analysis of "the law of the land." He writes not as a polemicist but as a philosopher, and he writes of natural law with the same force, conciseness, lucidity and simplicity which have distinguished all his other works.