It would appear that the subject of gay marriage continues to be not only a hot-button topic for the population at large, but also a crowd draw among the students of UVU. As part of the 25th Anniversary celebration of the Ethics Department, a slew of ethics-related seminars and expert panels have been assembled during the month of September.
The subject of Gay vs. Traditional marriage was approached by two speakers, each on either side of the debate. Arguing the pro gay marriage perspective was John Corvino, an associate professor of philosophy at Wayne State University in Detroit, Mich. On the opposite side of the debate was Bill Duncan, the Director of the Marriage Law Foundation.
Professor Corvino was the first to address the crowd in the library auditorium. His presentation was titled “The Meaning of (Gay) Marriage.” Corvino noted, with some humor, that the parenthesis around the word “gay” was done in a sort of ironic fashion to drive home the point that he is not trying to argue for “gay” marriage, but marriage period, saying that, “Relationships are good for people, and marriage is good for relationships”.
Before he even took the stage, it was clear that Professor Corvino had amassed a decent following among those in attendance. One of these admirers, student Samuel Grenny, a senior studying philosophy, said that he has been a fan of Corvino for some time now. Grenny added that it was Corvino’s “treatment of the topic” he respected so much.
Another student who wished to only be identified as Emily turned out to be more of a skeptic when it came to not only the professor, but also the subject matter itself.
Emily said, “I came because I wanted to see what kind of reasons he would give to justify his agenda.” After the seminar Emily seemed to soften a little as she added, “I still don’t think gay marriage is right, but I liked the speaker, and I liked the way he put it across.”
It was easy to see how Professor Covino has grown in favor among not only his supporters, but also among those who may not share his view on the matter. Corvino brought an engaging and warm personality with a dry wit that added a welcomed element of humor to his presentation. He spent the bulk of his talk addressing the most common arguments he has found against gay-marriage, including “This isn’t my definition of marriage, it’s God’s,” and “If you let gays marry, why not polygamy?” But lest anyone think him lopsided on the subject, Corvino also addressed the criticisms from those considered part of his own camp. Some of these objections included “Morality is a private matter,” and “My marriage has nothing to do with anyone else.”
On either side of the debate, Corvino was able to clearly explain why he believed that both parties, while well-meaning, might be missing the point in many respects. He was also able to produce plenty of evidence and research on the subject, which helped lend to his overall credibility.
At the end of the address, Corvino opened the floor up to any questions the audience had. And though often times this can be like opening Pandora’s Box, the questions he fielded were, in general, very respectful and positive. In the end, the audience seemed to appreciate the message that Corvino was trying to relay, one of open and continuing dialogue among all parties involved with the hope that someday we might yet reach an arrangement that is both mutually beneficial and morally acceptable.