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Columbia Law School

Sexuality and the Law

Columbia Law Review

2014

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Risky Arguments In Social-Justice Litigation: The Case Of Sex Discrimination And Marriage Equality, Suzanne B. Goldberg Jan 2014

Risky Arguments In Social-Justice Litigation: The Case Of Sex Discrimination And Marriage Equality, Suzanne B. Goldberg

Faculty Scholarship

This Essay takes up the puzzle of the risky argument or, more precisely, the puzzle of why certain arguments do not get much traction in advocacy and adjudication even when some judges find them to be utterly convincing. Through a close examination of the sex discrimination argument's evanescence in contemporary marriage litigation, this Essay draws lessons about how and why arguments become risky in social-justice cases and whether they should be made nonetheless. The marriage context is particularly fruitful because some judges, advocates, and scholars find it "obviously correct" that laws excluding same-sex couples from marriage discriminate facially based ...