The approval of gay marriage in the United States is challenging the definition of family and forcing the conservative parties to adapt quickly to the new times.
I. To give you the opportunity to use the critical perspective to analyze a recent world event.
a) What happened?
The Supreme Court of the United States ruled that married same-sex couples were entitled to social and federal benefits and, by declining to decide a case of gay marriage in California, allowed the same-sex marriages in the State.
b) How was the trajectory of this event shaped by various information systems?
Conservative media and right wing defenders presented the case as a punch in the face to the morals, the philosophy and respect of religious traditions. The gay marriage is a negative attack against the first base of the society: the family. America was shown as a country on the path to destruction if the majority of society is bound to accept this new vision of family imposed by a minority interested in legalizing its sodomy and incestuous lifestyles allowing the adoption of minors, the parenting or the same social and legal rights of heterosexuals.
Liberal and center media, same as social networks were pushing for critical debate and analysis about civil rights instead of a moral or theology. From a legal perspective, all marriages must be considered equal. Everybody has the right to establish a personal and legal relationship with another human being regardless of sex. Law is based on individual responsibility and not on religious or biased opinions.
c) Who did the event affect? And how did the event affect them?
The event made a huge conversational and investigative theme for the media. They took sides trying to show both sides of the history but pushing from the editorial pages to accommodate to the majority’s opinion through surveys and comparisons of same situations in other countries.
The markets are expecting of the decision related to the approval of the gay marriage. A new law like this means a lot of new customers and a market eager to enjoy everything that the society has denied them for centuries. Definitively it is a win-win situation for companies interested in weddings, honeymoons, and events for couples regardless of sex.
The government is the one who sits on both sides of the camp. It is a loser for the conservatives and a winner for liberals, and vice versa. For the conservatives, the government failed when it disregards the Federal Defense of Marriage Act, but made a major victory when declined to say whether or not the gay marriage was constitutional. For the supporters of the gay marriage, the government backed them up disregarding the DOMA but disappointed them leaving the union disconnected from the constitution and leaving the decision to every State.
The public from countries around the world:
The United States is still the leader for the rest of the civilized world but when talking about civil changes or major changes we failed behind. Other countries around the globe had years ago, given stronger support and took the decision to favor and uphold the same-sex unions. It is not a weird success to see happy couples of all sexes getting married, raising kids or walking holding hands on the parks.
d) How did the public get the information?
Days of the final conclusion of the debate in the Supreme Court, the media listed every judge according to his philosophical tendencies or previous decisions. They were also listed as bad or good guys, depending on who was talking. The final sentence was given live using all the channels and social media.
e) Was the information authentic and credible?
The eagerness of the big news channel wanting to be the first to present the findings of the court led them to give inaccurate information. The information was corrected later, but the show left the public with the idea of being manipulated by the media.
f) How might have the information been influenced, manipulated or suppressed?
The information about the arguments inside the Supreme Court stayed inside that room. All the analysis and debate made in the media was based on hypothesis and speculations. Any possible result was suppressed from the public knowledge.
g) What assumptions can you challenge?
The judges in the Supreme Court knew the decision about the same-sex marriage was more a religious and historical debate than a civil matter. The plant was about to give the same rights to a community of American citizens, who deserve to be respected and honor their relationships with other members of the society. Whatever the ruling showed, in this case, would be turned into a political and moral discussion.
II. To give you the opportunity to use much of what you’ve learned this semester.
a) The rhetorical triangle:
The biggest achievement for me that I will take from this class to my personal life is the definition of my personal growth based on “Rational Appeal” and “Ethical Appeal.” The world of possibilities is unlimited when you find that the barriers of emotion can be overcome to learn new ways to do things and explore new ideas.
- How does the rhetorical triangle apply in your analysis?
The trustworthiness and the credibility of media are based on facts and analysis made by independent researchers or other sources of information. Usually, the target group is pretty clear when you listen or read the news and make a mental map of the different ways the same argument is showed.
- How was rhetoric used to shape and convey the event?
Being a judge of the Supreme Court couldn’t be an easy job. The suit we are talking about on this assignment was based on the search of justice. The emotional appeal must stay out of discussions related to civil matters because the law is not created to make happy people. It is to learn how to live one next to other without being a victim of a crime or offense. The whole discussion was base in rational and logical reasoning, knowing that the final sentence would be accepted based on the principles of credibility and sapience of the court.
b) How was the information created, harvested, conveyed, and used?
Most of the information that reached the public was biased trying to take a side on the political affiliation of the media.
c) What role did secrecy and revelation play in this event?
The secret of the deliberations and the uncertainty of the final statement were the seed of several debates in the nation and numerous protests.
- Who is keeping secrets?
The role of secrecy was played by the Supreme Court in this case
- Who’s penetrating secrets?
The public in general, the social media, the liberal parties, the gay communities and all the people who share the idea of an equal society.
- Who’s manipulating information?
In this case, the radical media, the conservative and the right political wing who are interested in reveal the upcoming sentence to keep the status quo of the marriage and to hold the discrimination against the gay community.
- Was there an example of how lies protect secrets or how secrets protect lies?
The approval of the gay marriage in the United States is not an issue covered by lies but more for political and religious interests. The only secret is the covered hate that some individuals feel about the gays and the deep fear of changing in the nucleus of the society: the family.
d) What role did intellectual property play in this event?
None actually. There are no material issues analyzed here. This is a legal matter about constitutional rights.
e) What role did the freedom of information or suppression play in this event?
The freedom of information is limited by the sources. The public only sees the small piece the big networks show. That ignorance of the American public is reflected on the ads and banners displayed in every protest or article related to the issue.
III. To help you better understand how people, movements, and technology alter global cultures.
a) How did the following entities influence this event?
- A person:
The DOMA, signed by President Clinton in 1996, prevented same-sex couples whose marriages were recognized by their home state from receiving the benefits available to other married couples under federal law. During the Obama administration, the Justice Department found that the law was unconstitutional and declined to defend it any longer.
- A movement:
The conservative opinion, the religious communities, and the Republican Party criticized that decision based on the defense of a constitutional Act of Congress. The gay movement, on the other side, is pushing the Congress to recognize all kind of civil unions as legal contracts, regardless the sex of the parties involved.
- A technology:
The technology influenced the opinion of those who are not really into politics or cultural issues like marriage. The social forums online gathered a lot of info about the humiliation and ignorance of the public about the suffering of long-established gay couples with the rights to live happily as everybody else.
- A person:
All this revolution started after plaintiff Edie Windsor, sued the federal government because the Internal Revenue Service denied her refund request for the $363,000 in federal estate taxes she paid after her spouse, Thea Spyer, another woman died in 2009. Her claim was the spark to promote the freedom of marriage in the United States and the first step for the recognition of gay couples around the world.
- A movement:
There is no gay movement. The people who defend the idea of support the law to accept the gay marriage comes from different social sectors and diverse communities. There is no affiliation or colors to support, except those ones of the plurality in all countries.
- A technology:
The technology is the motor of the ideas and the machine of the information. The success of the constitutional recognition of the gay marriage is shown as a vanguard jump off our civilization and a mirror to ostracized communities.
c) What does it all mean on a global level?
It means that to be gay is not a sickness or a social stigma. The recognition of the gay marriage and the declaration of unconstitutionality of the definition of marriage between a man and a woman is a huge acceptation of alternative lifestyles and a sample of respect toward those who act and think different.
d) How do any (or all) of those bring desirable or undesirable change?
All changes are good. Changes come when they are necessary, and they come when the time is appropriate. We cannot see it at the beginning, and they could be labeled as evil, but history has proved that all changes come with positive and negative consequences. However, those sudden turns of events lead us here: The modern world. This century has a new light that only future generations will see. We are developing a new future. We are the witness of the born of a new society, more sensitive and more human.