Defining Marriage: Classification, Interpretation, and Definitional Disputes

Fabrizio Macagno


The classification of a state of affairs under a legal category can be considered as a kind of con- densed decision that can be made explicit, analyzed, and assessed us- ing argumentation schemes. In this paper, the controversial conflict of opinions concerning the nature of “marriage” in Obergefell v. Hodges is analyzed pointing out the dialecti- cal strategies used for addressing the interpretive doubts. The dispute about the same-sex couples’ right to marry hides a much deeper disa- greement not only about what mar- riage is, but more importantly about the dialectical rules for defining it.

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ISSN: 0824-2577