Technical Specifications

  • Standard Introduction
    (8 KB – PDF)
  • Sound: 2 lavaliere mics
    on stage, 2 hand held mics
    on mic stands in audience –
    one on each side in front
    of the stage.
  • Light: Basic Stage Lighting
  • Other: 1 podium, 1 table
    to one side of the stage
    with 2 chairs at this table.
  • Green Room: 4 bottles of water

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Debating Same-Sex Marriage

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Maggie Gallagher and John Corvino


Is same-sex marriage good for society? The ongoing debate over civil unions and same-sex marriage often generates more heat than light. Yet the debate cannot be ignored, as legislators and voters around the country grapple with whether and how to recognize same-sex relationships.

Maggie Gallagher and John Corvino – two of the nation's leading and opposing voices on this issue — bring clarity and civility to this otherwise divisive topic. Gallagher, a same-sex marriage opponent, argues that marriage between a woman and a man is the fundamental, cross-cultural institution for insuring that children have loving, committed mothers and fathers. Corvino, a same-sex marriage advocate, argues that recognizing same-sex unions would be good not only for gay people, but also for society at large, since society has an interest in supporting stable, loving relationships for all its members.

In the course of their debates, Gallagher and Corvino address many sub-topics: the needs of children, the complementarity of the sexes, the analogy to the civil-rights movement, the alleged slippery-slope towards polygamy and polyamory, and the implications for religious freedom. They work together to promote a more productive conversation on these issues.

Maggie Gallagher is Chairman and co-founder of the National Organization for Marriage, which the Washington Post called the "pre-eminent national organization" fighting to protect marriage as the union of husband and wife. NOM is widely credited with providing the early push to get Prop 8 on the ballot and leading the referendum to repeal gay marriage in Maine in 2009, to pass a marriage amendment in Minnesota, and to block gay marriage bills in New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Maryland. She is a nationally syndicated columnist and the author of three books on marriage including (with University of Chicago Prof. Linda J. Waite) The Case for Marriage: Why Married People are Happier, Healthier and Better-Off Financially.

John Corvino, Ph.D. is a philosophy professor at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. For years he was also known as "The Gay Moralist," a regular columnist for 365gay.com and other venues. As a speaker, he has educated diverse audiences, including professional organizations, the Lawrence Livermore National Research Laboratory, the National Institutes of Health, and hundreds of university audiences. His academic writing has appeared in dozens of scholarly journals and books, including Do We Need Minority Rights? Ethics in Practice, and The Philosophy of Sex.

Corvino and Gallagher collaborated on a book, Debating Same-Sex Marriage, just released by Oxford University Press. While they disagree on many issues, they share a profound commitment to reasoned public dialogue.


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