I noticed this via Facebook, where David Lat says it's the second time The Ethicist has answered a question from him. The first one, back in 2010, was about eating cookies from a minibar and then, before the hotel noticed, replacing them with identical cookies bought much more cheaply from a store. I was more interested in the cookie question, and what I said over there was:
Wow. Congratulations on getting two questions answered by The Ethicist. I haven't read the new one yet, but I enjoyed the cookie one. I had a problem with the analogy, though. It was clearly inapt. He said "You might with similar logic stop by the Staples Center and present vendors with a bottle of the same brand of beer you drank at the Lakers game last night" and ask for a refund, but in that scenario the employees have to do some extra work, interacting with you and processing the refund. In your situation, the minibar looked exactly the same and no one did any extra work. My problem with what you did would be that I wouldn't want to be the occupant of a room with a minibar that is presented as if it were tended to by the hotel's employees but really contains items that have traveled in the possession of some other hotel guest, some stranger. But then every hotel room is full of molecules that have traveled on (or in!) the person of previous guests. It's an ineffable fussiness.I know the origin of babies is more important than the commerce in cookies, but the particularity of the cookie question intrigued me, and I'm drawn to bad analogies. I feel a sort of ethical duty to expose them. And then there was the underlying current of disgust over the residue of all those unknown guests who have occupied that hotel room that you need to think you can sleep in. As for getting a baby through an egg donor and a surrogate mother... is it selfish? There's so much selfishness in the baby-having business, once you stray away from an absolute spiritual merger between sexual intercourse and open, full acceptance of the occurrence of new life. You ought to think about that, but should you confront other people about what they are doing in that area? It's bad etiquette at least, but it's ethically bad if you're singling out gay people for your lecturing.