Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Rhetoric at the Supreme Court

I have so much to say about the oral arguments in front of the Supreme Court about the same sex marriage debate.  But I want to focus on just one rhetorical point that struck me as something that people on both sides of the issue can appreciate.

There was one particular answer that was framed in different ways by different Justice’s questions to the attorneys regarding whether there was gender discrimination involved:
·         This is not a case of gender discrimination: Both men and women can marry someone of the opposite gender.  But neither can marry someone of the same gender.  Therefore both genders are treated equally.
·         This is a case of gender discrimination: A man can marry a woman but a woman cannot.  A woman can marry a man but a man cannot.  So the genders are treated differently.

The point I am trying to make here is how nuanced any situation can be depending on how you frame it – because both of these statements are logically correct.