(Re)articulating Civil Rights Rhetoric: A Critical Intersectional Perspective on Social Movement Rhetorical Strategies

Document Type


Presentation Date


Conference Name

National Communication Association

Conference Location

New Orleans, LA


California's Proposition 8 revoked the right to marriage for that state's gay and lesbian population. Proposition 8 was a devastating defeat for gay marriage movements across the nation. The primary rhetorical strategy of the No on 8 campaign was a reliance on a Civil Rights analogy that constructed the gay and lesbian movement for marriage as a civil right akin to those fought for by African Americans in the 1950s and 1960s. Analogizing the gay and lesbian struggle for gay marriage with the racial struggles of the Civil Rights Movement exposed a complicated relationship between communities of color and gay and lesbian communities. This project reads critical rhetoric and intersectionality together to craft a critical intersectional rhetoric to better understand the potentialities and pitfalls of analogizing the gay rights with Civil Rights. I analyze television ads, communiqués of No on 8 leadership, as well as state level and national court decisions related to gay marriage to argue alternative frameworks that move away from analogizing and move towards coalition building.



This document is currently not available here.