Morality And Gay Rights Discourse Essay

2720 words - 11 pages

Morality and Gay Rights Discourse

When Aristotle discussed the material premises of enthymemes as being important in rhetoric, he was prescient of the kind of appeals that would be tendered by opponents in the discourse over gay rights issues long after his time. Smith and Windes express the nature of this conflict accurately when they write, “symbols expressing fundamental cultural values are invoked by all sides” (1997: 28). Similarly, Sarah S. Brown describes the participants in a “struggle to stake out symbolic positions of good and to frame their side in terms of morally powerful conceptions of right and wrong” (2000: 458). Fascinatingly, she suggests, “even people with deeply conflicting opinions appeal to the same moral concepts for the force of their arguments” (458). In fact, these same moral concepts are ubiquitous to all discourse and to life. They penetrate the social order at the most fundamental level. They are not static, however, and their malleability gives rise to a constantly shifting landscape of debate wherein, as Smith and Windes (1997) assert, the adversaries literally have so much impact as to drive the process of self-definition for one another.

Related to that process is the way in which the landscape itself is defined, which Haider-Markel and Meier see as consequential in terms of “what resources are important and [what] advantages some coalitions [in the struggle] have over others” (1996: 346). (See also: Kintz, 1998; Smith and Windes, 1997). Particularly, they demonstrate that models of discourse which conceptualize gay issues in terms of morality (or culture) as opposed to politics or civil rights offer a rhetorical upper hand to proponents of anti-gay arguments. It is the objective of this paper to explore that edge and to deal with prescriptions that have been suggested as remedies for it. To begin with, however, we turn back to enthymemes.

Terrence Cook (1980) identifies eight categories of standards that are referred to in the justification of political appeals – prudence, tradition, the supernatural, (human) nature, law, public opinion, prestige suggestion, and ideals. He writes, “Sometimes standards are implicit in myths or metaphors, symbolizations which are more than decoration when they tap through concretization of otherwise cold cognitions” (516). In fact, he may be referring to the power of fundamental, (almost) universally accepted principles that are woven into the constitutive ‘myths’ and stories of social realities. Only tacit allusion to these principles is required to trigger them within an audience and engage that audience in their own persuasion.

Certainly, this is the phenomenon that Brown (2000) encounters when she notices how opposing factions of the debate surrounding same-sex parenting each make claim to the same value-laden concepts in their arguments. For example, both “pros” and “cons” reference the utmost importance of family, believe that human rights...

Find Another Essay On Morality and Gay Rights Discourse

Gay Rights and Religious Freedom Essay

1007 words - 5 pages Gay rights coincide with freedom of religion, coming from the First Amendment, which also gives citizens the right of freedom of expression as well. People around the world are facing inequality and persecution because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. This all leads to discrimination amongst citizens of the U.S. In the United States, the rights of gays only exist in a few states, which permit them with the same equal

Homosexuality, Morality, and Human Rights Essay

1828 words - 7 pages command the intensity of the foregoing, is the acceptability of homosexuality in mainstream society. Until recently, homosexuality was considered strictly taboo. If an individual was homosexual, this revelation was considered a grave secret to be kept from all family, friends, and society at large. However, it seem that society has begun to accept this lifestyle by allowing same sex couples some of the rights afforded heterosexual couples. The

America Needs More Gay Rights and Tolerance

792 words - 3 pages allowed reasons for change. Gays are given rights that were once denied and violence against gays is considered illegal society is leaning towards gay rights and the word tolerance meaning to be socially and lawfully recognized and accepted is being understood by society to the fullest. But are these assumptions mere claims, has gay tolerance increased in the past 40 years? Religious institution are accepting Homosexual, popular social figures are

Gay Rights And How There Being Exploited

699 words - 3 pages not marry legally in the U.S. except for Hawaii. This denies gay couples around the country the freedom given to married straight couples. For instance certain visitation rights if their loved one is ill, tax breaks for married couples and lots more.There are also abolitionists against homosexuals. Mainly one stands out. Religious conservatives, most of whom favor reserving special rights for heterosexuals. They would restrict the rights of

Lawrence v. Texas and the History of Gay Rights

3139 words - 13 pages Gay rights have always faced an uphill battle in a country like America, one founded with Puritanical ideals rife with sexual repression. Viewed as sexual deviants and detrimental to society, the LGBT community has fought discrimination long before the acronym for the gay community ever even existed. The public fight for sexual equality goes all the way back to the 1920s, when “The Society for Human Rights in Chicago [became] the country's

Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Issues - Same-sex Marriage Laws Violate Gay Rights

835 words - 3 pages Laws Violate Gay Rights   When I was in third grade, I learned that there are certain "inalienable rights"-- the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness -- all of which the United States government is committed to protecting for every human. Last week, I learned this government feels that these human rights are limited to some people, based on how they choose to practice sex. In two separate legislations last week, the

Feminism and Cultural Relativism in Human Rights Discourse: Sex-determination Test in India

3130 words - 13 pages Feminism and Cultural Relativism in Human Rights Discourse: Sex-determination Test in India ABSTRACT: Feminists and cultural relativists are highly critical of human rights even if their criticisms have taken two diametrically opposed sides. This has created a conflict between the two groups. In this paper, I summarize the views of feminists and cultural relativists and then show that there are many similarities between them despite their

Force, Morality and Rights in Thomas Hobbes and John Locke's Social Contract Theories

1635 words - 7 pages Force, Morality and Rights in Thomas Hobbes and John Locke's Social Contract Theories Throughout history, the effects of the unequal distribution of power and justice within societies have become apparent through the failure of governments, resulting in the creation of theories regarding ways to balance the amount of power given and the way in which justice is enforced. Due to this need for change, Thomas Hobbes and John Locke created two

Gay Rights in Russia and Interview Analysis by Fareed Zakaria From CNN

968 words - 4 pages hate any form of discrimination. I would never allow any sort of discrimination to take place”. By Zakaria asking this, he is trying to persuade the audience that discrimination will rise from this new law and gay people will no longer be treated equally. Zakaria asks, “The Sochi Olympics have raised, as a controversy, an issue that you have also gotten embroiled in, which is this issue of gays and gay rights. What do you think of the law that

Was told to write a declaration for a controversial group or organization. I wrote about gay and lesbians' rights to marry in the United States. Pronouncement to Gay and Lesbian Rights

1070 words - 4 pages Gay and lesbian rights are not only an issue today, but with its on growing controversy. Something must be done to protect the individuals who have certain beliefs that might be dissimilar towards others. These views on life do not make gays and lesbians bad people. They should be treated like others, when if were to be married should have equal rights comparable to the opposite sex marriages. United States is a place where everyone is to be

Gay Rights in Ireland

3520 words - 14 pages ). As Irish law is slowly changing and evolving there seems to swing towards analyzing gay rights cases (and for that matter most human rights cases) in a more subjective way. It seems the decisions made by judges on cases tend to be more individualistic and less blanketing. Marie-Benedicte Dembour in her 2001 article suggests that in rights discourse universalism can often be characterized as arrogant as it assumes that people will arrive at

Similar Essays

Gay And Lesbian Rights Essay

2016 words - 8 pages Gay And Lesbian Rights When I read the statement that said "we shouldn't devote our efforts to promoting the rights of lesbians and gay men, since there are more important and urgent human rights issues that deserve our attention…." I was taken aback. As it stands now, nothing seems more important than bringing both equality, and general acceptance, to gay and lesbian people. Although their have been many mistakes

Gay And Lesbian Rights Essay

1258 words - 6 pages Name: Kendren Oliver Date: April 21, 2014 Gay and lesbian people should have the same rights as everyone else in America. They are being driven away from their rights due to some rumors that Christian observationalists have assumed because of their own religious morals. I feel as though gay and lesbian people should have their rights because they are not as horrid as they assumptions that Christian officials have made them out to be

Religion And Gay Rights Essay

1455 words - 6 pages of thinking. Ultimately, the issue from a religious standpoint is should homosexuality and same-sex couples have equal rights as heterosexual couples and individuals? Also, how should religion play a role in this deep controversy? Should the religious leaders be judging homosexuals for their wrong doing or supporting them with compassion and kindness? Peter J. Gomes, author of “Homophobic? Re-Read Your Bible”, gives his more liberal views on

Gay Community Rights And Respinsiblities Essay

1606 words - 7 pages The circumstances containing homosexuality have formed a varying timeline. The LGBT community’s rights and responsibilities must match those of society in general. Throughout the last 50 years the rights deserved by those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender has been debated. Debates have included topics such as same sex marriage, housing security, and job security. The LGBT community needs laws protecting it from hate crimes. There