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Gay Marriage and Cosmopolitanism

In: English and Literature

Submitted By hbk3002
Words 1409
Pages 6
Randy Orton
Enc316
Mark Henry

Conversation of Gay Marriage

In the United States, gay marriage has become legalized in all 50 states of the United States. It has now become a prominent political issue because many politicians represent states where people feel strongly one way or another. Even though it has become legalized in all 50 states, some Americans are unhappy with the progress that the gay community is making, and more liberal Americans are upset because the gay community is not making enough progress. Many debates constantly surface about this topic, one of which was present online in an open forum. This forum, entitled “www.youdebate.com/DEBATES/gay_marriage,” was one where many people stated how they feel about gay marriage and why. Anyone was allowed to make statements on this website, no matter how they felt. The ways that these statements were presented on “YouDebate.com” are a form of communication that links Kwame Anthony Appiah’s ideas in his essay “Cosmopolitanism.” Appiah uses the term “cosmopolitanism” to discuss how people from different backgrounds should consider one another’s opinions through conversations. In Appiah’s essay entitled “Cosmopolitanism,” he discusses how people can achieve a better understanding of one another by listening to each other. He believes that if people have an open mind and do not judge one another, then conversing together may create a world that is more accepting. Appiah thinks that the American society has changed with the passing of generations. He stated “When one turns from the issue of criminalization of gay sex-which is, at least for the moment, unconstitutional in the United States-to the question of gay marriage, all sides of the debate take seriously issues of sexual autonomy, the value of the intimate lives of couples, the meaning of family, and by the way of perversion, the proper use of sex(80).” The societal changes have altered peoples’ values over the years but there are still many conflicting points of view when it comes to gay marriage. When people discuss gay marriage with one another, they use their own personal values to state their different points. Appiah feels that this can be effective at times so that people can get used to each other’s ideas. In this gay marriage debate forum, many people have used their values to form opinions and state their ideas. A divorce friendly zealot Kim Davis, says she was chosen by God to fight same-sex marriage. Kim Davis defended her decision to deny marriage licesees to same-sex couples and stated, “No one would ever have remembered a county clerk that just said…’Even though I don’t agree with it, its OK. I’ll do it.’” Her values are shown, as she wants the laws in America to reflect religious affiliations. She feels that the practices the American government do should be a direct correlation of their religious feelings. By using the phrase, “The Lord picks the unlikely source to convey the message.”, she is forming an opinion rather than fact. She has used a conversation to make excellent reasoning but she is not making a productive conversation. After she states this, she does not expect to have a response, which is limiting the conversation. Because she does not expect a response to her part of the discussion, it does not make for a cosmopolitan conversation where she can get used to the values and practices of each other. Appiah believes that people have many different values and they are brought up in discussions. Another post, written by an anonymous person, discusses the concept of gay marriage based on the traditional American definition of marriage. He says that “marriage is defined as a union between a man and a woman, therefore gays cannot be married.” He does make an interesting point in bringing a traditional definition into his reasoning but his values are only present through the meaning of marriage. While his reasoning is relevant, he does not make any other points that correspond to the reasoning of other writers. In order to have a cosmopolitan conversation, he should respond to different topics and allow the thoughts of others to sink in. By saying that gays “cannot be married,” he sounds as though he will never change his mind no matter what others may say in the conversation. His values are derived from the old American traditions or a religious definition, which is why he believes that a marriage should be a union between a man and a woman. He seems as though he will not accept the ideas of his peers. He is trying to appeal to the traditional American people but it is a not attracting the others in the conversation. Appiah would think that this part of the conversation is not making any improvement to understanding one another and is therefore not progressing acceptance. A person who goes by “Alexander” wrote in response to the last post seemed to talk in a more open way than the last two writers. His reasoning is valid when he asks what is more important, “preserving a definition of marriage or promoting happiness and liberty to all American citizens?” He is making a cosmopolitan statement by looking at what the other side of the conversation is suggesting. He asks a question as a form of rhetoric to make a strong case. Alexander’s values derive from equality of all citizens. He says that all American citizens should be entitled to happiness and liberty. A broad comment about all American citizens is effective and all can relate because Americans appreciate their liberties. If he had talked about other liberties, he may have appealed to a broader spectrum of people. Alexander’s has used a question to effectively discuss both sides of the issue. Appiah believes that a conversation should not be an argument but rather a discussion of ideas. Alexander helped to make the forum more of a conversation by using less of an aggressive attitude but if he had discussed the rights that many Americans have, he may have appealed to more people. His values come out in his discussion because it is present that he feels strongly to support equality. While he may not support the practices of all people, his values are set to provide equal opportunity for all people. His part of the conversation was very broad but he made others think. Appiah believes that a conversation should the transfer and discussion of ideas, therefore Alexander has helped to enforce Appiah’s idea of a cosmopolitan conversation. Appiah wants a conversation to be a calm one in which people can feel open to express their ideas. Sandy Rios who is a fox news contributor who is another person who used a more aggressive tone in sequencing her words which has not support Appiah’s hopes of a good conversation. She said President’s Barack Obama’s decision to light up the White House in rainbow colors following the U.S. Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling increased the terror threat against America. Her values are liberal and in extreme dissuade of gay marriage. Because she does not try to appeal to many of the conversationalists, she does not allow for the conversation to progress. Appiah would want this conversationalist to be more accepting of the opinions of others. Appiah’s suggestions as to how a conversation should play out do not always translate to everyday life. He says that “Conversation doesn’t have to lead to consensus about anything; it’s enough that it helps people get used to one another.” In order for a society to move forward in its thinking and ideas, cosmopolitan conversations must occur. Understanding one another is one of the keys for a community to have fewer conflicts. Appiah suggests that conversations, not arguments, create a better atmosphere in a community. When people argue about gay marriage, abortion or any other controversial topics, a consensus is almost never reached. In this forum, “Youdebate.com,” people are trying to get a point across rather than accepting the values of others. This forum is one where people are trying to win. Appiah’s idea of a conversation is one where no one wins but rather people gain understanding. It is nearly impossible for people to agree but it may be possible for people to understand others in their community if they have a cosmopolitan conversation where the conversers respect each other. A debate will not progress our society but a conversation might.

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