This paper analyzes a very harsh case that is widely debated nowadays, namely the legal attempt to extend the right to marry to same-sex couples. This case is theoretically interesting, as it shows that even when there is a stable and shared agreement on a specific human right as it happens for the right to marry, still many public conflicts may arise with regard to the implementation of such right. The case of same-sex marriage involves a public conflict over the meaning of a specific concept, as “marriage”, that has been determined long time ago and that is now undergoing a process of re-conceptualization. A set of members of the society is against this process; some others believe that modifying this social standard, in order to make it more inclusive, is the only way for respecting the liberal ideal of equal respect for persons. I analyze the same-sex marriage case from two perspectives. (1) I expose different legal arguments that, following the “fundamental right” strategy, show that law should enforce rights, such as the right to same-sex marriage, whose enjoyment grants equal treatment before the law for every citizen. (2) I stress that it is also important to dwell on political arguments in favor of the extension to the right to marry to same-sex couples. These arguments acknowledge the fundamental role played by the symbolic aspects in the political deliberation over the same-sex marriage debate. In fact, same-sex couples’ request challenges the traditional view about family and their claim happens to be seen as running afoul of the morality of the majority. The main conclusion that I want to stress is that, in order to mitigate the public conflict around the same-sex case marriage, it is fundamental to booster a public deliberative procedure that involves a “concept negotiation” in which different alternatives are depicted and evaluated assessing their adherence to the normative evaluative standards that constitute the core values of liberal democratic societies. I will argue in favor of the practice of open negotiation, showing that both political institutions and the legal system can play a fundamental role in publicly recognizing the normative reasons that underpin the requests of extending the right to marry to same-sex couples. Provided that political institutions respect some normative constraints, it is possible to articulate an open negotiation between citizens and institutions in which even unreasonable citizens are included in the political processes; granting therefore a multilogical dialogue among citizens (horizontal relation) and among all citizens and institutions (vertical relation).

Open Negotiation: The Case of Same-sex Marriage

Federica Liveriero
2015

Abstract

This paper analyzes a very harsh case that is widely debated nowadays, namely the legal attempt to extend the right to marry to same-sex couples. This case is theoretically interesting, as it shows that even when there is a stable and shared agreement on a specific human right as it happens for the right to marry, still many public conflicts may arise with regard to the implementation of such right. The case of same-sex marriage involves a public conflict over the meaning of a specific concept, as “marriage”, that has been determined long time ago and that is now undergoing a process of re-conceptualization. A set of members of the society is against this process; some others believe that modifying this social standard, in order to make it more inclusive, is the only way for respecting the liberal ideal of equal respect for persons. I analyze the same-sex marriage case from two perspectives. (1) I expose different legal arguments that, following the “fundamental right” strategy, show that law should enforce rights, such as the right to same-sex marriage, whose enjoyment grants equal treatment before the law for every citizen. (2) I stress that it is also important to dwell on political arguments in favor of the extension to the right to marry to same-sex couples. These arguments acknowledge the fundamental role played by the symbolic aspects in the political deliberation over the same-sex marriage debate. In fact, same-sex couples’ request challenges the traditional view about family and their claim happens to be seen as running afoul of the morality of the majority. The main conclusion that I want to stress is that, in order to mitigate the public conflict around the same-sex case marriage, it is fundamental to booster a public deliberative procedure that involves a “concept negotiation” in which different alternatives are depicted and evaluated assessing their adherence to the normative evaluative standards that constitute the core values of liberal democratic societies. I will argue in favor of the practice of open negotiation, showing that both political institutions and the legal system can play a fundamental role in publicly recognizing the normative reasons that underpin the requests of extending the right to marry to same-sex couples. Provided that political institutions respect some normative constraints, it is possible to articulate an open negotiation between citizens and institutions in which even unreasonable citizens are included in the political processes; granting therefore a multilogical dialogue among citizens (horizontal relation) and among all citizens and institutions (vertical relation).
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11571/1402096
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