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Essay on A Critique of Thomas B. Stoddard’s Gay Marriages: Make Them Legal

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Thomas B. Stoddard’s “Gay Marriages: Make Them Legal” is a successfully written argument with some minor flaws in technique. Stoddard uses this article to present his major claim, or central thesis, on the reasons gay marriage should be legalized. He presents his argument using minor claims. In a lecture on February 2, 2005, James McFadden stated a minor claim is the secondary claim in an argument. Stoddard uses minor claims in his discussion of homosexual people being denied their rights by the government and by others who discriminate against them. He also discusses how love and the desire for commitment play a big part in the argument for and against gay marriage.

Stoddard begins his argument successfully with pathos, or emotional appeal, to attain the reader’s empathy for those who have been deprived of a loved one. The story tells of a woman named Karen Thompson, who was basically married, but not legally, to her female partner; when Thompson’s partner was in a critical car accident, her partner’s parents completely cut Thompson off from all contact with their daughter. Had the two women been married, they would not have had to deal with such heart-throbbing pain. This example is effective on presenting how marriage “can be the key to survival, emotional and financial” (Stoddard, 1988, p. 551). Making the readers attentive to their feelings captures their attention to the issue of gay marriage and supports his first minor claim.

He continues to support the main claim by showing his knowledge of married couples’ legal rights. He explains that homosexual couples that are not allowed to marry are denied tax breaks, group insurance, and pension programs (Stoddard, 1988, p. 551). These are important grounds,...


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... wish, but may not be allowed to marry them. To the government, marriage is a legal contract and love is an emotional connection.

Stoddard uses many successful techniques to support his major claim that gay marriage should be made legal. He misuses a few techniques, but overall his paper was a success. He keeps his argument strong through emotional appeal, strong evidence, use of authority, and great warrants.

References

Barnet S., & Bedau H. (Eds.). (2005). Current issues and enduring questions: a guide to
critical thinking and argument, with readings. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.

Stoddard, T. B. (2005). Gay marriages: should they be legalized? In Barnet
S., & Bedau H. (Eds.) Current issues and enduring questions: a guide to critical thinking and argument, with readings. (pp.551-552). Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.


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