Stock Issues and Audience Analysis In a debate or argument, it is necessary to identify the stock issues of need, remedy and disadvantages (See figure 1). In this case, we identified need as relating to the equality of rights afforded to heterosexual and same-sex couples. This relates specifically to the couples’ rights related to financial and taxing benefits, and also rights related to adoption and child-rearing. An affirmative argument would need to illustrate the need, while the negative argument would endeavor to prove that the need is not significant or not yet proven.
Further, Wolfson must convince the audience that the proposed remedy, the legalization of same-sex marriage, is the only acceptable solution to the need. Wolfson must also demonstrate how other proposed remedies, such as civil unions, do not meet the need presented.
The third stock issue relates to the disadvantages incurred by a proposed remedy. Disadvantages of this remedy might include changing the social understanding of marriage, federal financial costs and the difficulties of regulating marriage once it is redefined. Gallagher is responsible for proving the disadvantages outweigh the remedies.
Another important tool in analyzing a debate is the audience analysis (See figure 2). In defining the audience as the American public, we faced a challenge to determine the segmentation of the audience. We believed the attribute of age was one of the most decisive factors related to opinions on same-sex marriage. For this reason, we chose to segment the audience by generation: Millennials, Generation X, Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation.
We chose to reflect on the demographics of these groups, the belief and values, the types of warrants they find persuasive and their concerns with the proposed changes. We found the younger generations were considerably more likely to favor the legalization of same-sex marriage (based on a Pew Research study). We also found the older generations were more likely to be concerned with the social and economic impact of change. In addition, we found that this was likely a motivational, or value-based, issue for all of these generations. This is a sensitive finding, however, as we understand that the issue of same-sex marriage is a divisive one—a motivational approach might highly appeal to the supporting segment of this audience, while alienating the rest of the audience.
Through the use of the NRD model and the audience analysis, we were able to thoroughly analyze the arguments made on each side of this debate.