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2. The Classic Concept Of Equality And The Case For Same-Sex Marriage

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Chapter Summary

In justifying same-sex marriage on grounds of the similarities between homosexual and heterosexual couples, the Aristotelian principle of equality that "things that are alike should be treated alike" is alive and well. This idea of equality is often called "the formal principle of equality". Nowadays, the word "equality" appears in virtually every piece of international human rights instrument and many domestic constitutions. "Equality as consistency" embodies the rationality principle enshrined in English common law. In the context of same-sex marriage, the leveling down effect of equality has drawn attention from both the conservative and progressive opponents. The rhetorical purpose they serve is at the price of "intellectual confusion" because their egalitarian formulation does not reveal their true grounds as some non-egalitarian formulations do. This chapter discusses different visions of equality. The classic tone of equality remains powerful in our political discourse on same-sex marriage.

Keywords: Aristotelian; equality; homosexual; rhetoric; same-sex marriage



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