Same-sex marriage debate, part 1: John Corvino

(Robert Cody Shoemake)

Melanie Roberts

During the same-sex marriage debate at 12 p.m. on Mar. 7, between John Corvino and Maggie Gallagher, Corvino argued for the pro side.

Corvino said that often he is asked how, as a gay man and gay rights advocate, he can be friends with Gallagher, knowing she is actively fighting against his rights. Corvino joked that he answers, “I drink… a lot.”

In the McKinney Theater, Corvino, who has a Ph. D in philosophy, opened the debate by addressing that it’s important to recognize that there are gay people in the world, they find happiness in same-sex relationships, their happiness doesn’t take anything away from heterosexual couples and relationships are good for people.

“Relationships are good for people in the sense that having someone to come home to at night, wake up with in the morning and to share life’s joys and sorrows with is an important part of the human experience,” Corvino said.

He also points out that marriage is good for relationships, because it establishes two people as family in the eyes of the law, giving the couple legal benefits.

Although, he said it’s not just about a legal arrangement, but a commitment that two people make to each other in the presence of society

“When you stand up in front of our family and friends and say that ‘I pledge to be with this person,’ it’s not just good for the two of you, it’s also good for the people around you,” Corvino said. “Happy stable couples make for happy stable citizens.”

He said that marriage isn’t just good for same-sex couples, but also “society at large.”

Corvino brings up that people say they are against same-sex marriage for religious reasons, but he said that civil marriage is different than religious marriage. People get them confused, because they are often done at the same time.

“It’s important to recognize that whatever the state does with respect to civil marriage, that will not change the rights of religious institutions to decide what kind of marriages they want to perform or not,” Corvino said.

Another issue he addresses is that some people say same-sex marriage is a threat to traditional marriage.

“To be honest, I don’t understand this argument,” Corvino said. “We can support traditional, heterosexual marriage, while recognizing that it’s not right for everyone.”

Corvino said that allowing same-sex marriage has nothing to do with opening up acceptance for polygamy, incest or bestiality and they are completely separate issues to be addressed on their own merit.

Some people say that same-sex marriage is bad for children, who need a mother and father, but Corvino responds that children can do well in “a variety of different family forms.”

“Every major health and welfare organization, who has looked at this research, has said the same thing,” Corvino said. “We find that children raised by same-sex couples do just as well children raised by different sex parents.”

He said same-sex marriage never takes children away from a biological parent who is competent and wants the child.

“It concerns me that Maggie sets up what I think of as a false contrast of views about marriage,” Corvino said. “Either marriage is this institution binding mothers and fathers, especially fathers, to their children or it’s this loving commitment between two loving adults.”

Corvino said he opposes what Gallagher defines as marriage, because he believes it to be both of those things.

 “I don’t think we should fight about same-sex marriage, but work together to bring marriage for all,” Corvino said. 

For more on Corvino’s views, visit his YouTube page:

Or his website:

Debating Same-Sex Marriage:

(Robert Cody Shoemake)

(Robert Cody Shoemake)

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