Politics & Policy

Amazon’s Double Standard on Marriage

Why is the website blocking substantive pro–traditional marriage book reviews?

Maybe Amazon.com is not declaring war on religious freedom or against those who hold different views from our contemporary culture (e.g., pro-redefining marriage). Perhaps Amazon’s process of book reviews is an automated process programmed to identify reviews that do not adhere to their guidelines. But whether Amazon has any strict enforcement on the kind of reviews it allows to be posted or not, one thing is for sure: They’re not measuring all reviews on an equal scale.

I own a copy of the book Conjugal Union: What Marriage Is and Why It Matters by Patrick Lee and Robert P. George. I actually purchased this book through Amazon. It’s a book about the nature of marriage and how it is rooted in the union between a man and a woman. This was my review of this scholarly text; mind you, I have the status of “verified purchase”:

Clearly, this scholarly text shows that those who hold the view of marriage between a man and a woman, do indeed have a rational basis for defending the proposition: marriage should not be redefined. This scholarly text provides a rational, philosophical and jurisprudential defense of marriage between a man and a woman. It is a must read for all sides. Even if you don’t agree with their conclusions, you cannot dismiss this book because the arguments they raise are powerful and logical, unless of course, one is not interested in truth. This book not only explains the nature of marriage, but provides a handful of arguments for why the state recognizes this institution, namely, it has an interest in the well-being of children. I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it.

Within minutes of posting, Amazon sent me an e-mail that read, “Your review could not be posted to the website in its current form. While we appreciate your time and comments, reviews must adhere to the following guidelines.” Though they gave me the link to said guidelines, they did not explicitly state how my review failed to adhere to them. Although presently there are four other positive reviews of Conjugal Union, one negative review definitely stands out. Entitled “Second verse same as the first. Pure antigay venom,” the review clearly does not adhere to the guidelines (indeed, it does not even have “verified purchase” status), yet Amazon published it.

Whether this is poor enforcement on Amazon’s part or a glitch in their reviewing process, this is not an excuse to decline substantive reviews that actually abide by their guidelines while allowing others that clearly have no respect for their guidelines. I e-mailed them back for a proper response and received the same message as I did before, to follow their review guidelines.

— James Lopez is a graduate student in philosophy at Biola University.


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