L’estensione del diritto di matrimonio alle coppie omosessuali: un argomento normativo

Anno L, n. 214, settembre-dicembre 2015
Centro Einaudi
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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. In order to fully understand the normative relevance of the legal battle in favor of same-sex marriage, I argue, it is important to investigate the symbolic aspects of public space, as this battle for an extension of a specific right implies, more extensively, fighting for full citizenship, that is, equal visibility and equal membership within the public space.