Date of Award

8-2007

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department

Professional Communication

Advisor

Fishman, Teresa

Committee Member

Hilligoss , Susan

Committee Member

Sample , Joseph

Abstract

This thesis examines the same-sex marriage debate within the Republican Party and how the Family Research Council and the Log Cabin Republicans construct their rhetorical arguments using Aristotelian appeals. By defining the debate according to Lloyd Bitzer's rhetorical situation, this thesis considers the rhetorical sustainability of these organizations' claims about same-sex marriage and the implications for the future of the Republican Party.
The United States is witnessing the increasing presence of gays and lesbians in the media and everyday life. The history of homosexuals living their lives behind closed doors is becoming a thing of the past. As a result of a constellation of historical events from civil rights to the judicial recognition of same-sex couples in Vermont and Massachusetts, homosexuals in the United States are enjoying increased visibility and are now demanding the same rights afforded to heterosexual couples. The political lines have been drawn with most Democrats for the legal recognition of same-sex couples while a vocal group within the Republican Party champions a Constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
This thesis analyzes the rhetorical arguments of the Family Research Council (who are for the Constitutional amendment) and the Log Cabin Republicans (who are against the legislation of morality). When considering Aristotelian appeals, what the do structures of these arguments reveal about the future of the Republican Party in a post-modern fragmented society?

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