John is currently working on the details of his fall speaking calendar, with talks planned at the University of Colorado, Boulder, on October 22 and 23 and at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, on November 6. Details to follow soon at the calendar page.
In his Obergefell dissent, Chief Justice Roberts trots out a familiar slippery-slope argument:
[F]rom the standpoint of history and tradition, a leap from opposite-sex marriage to same-sex marriage is much greater than one from a two-person union to plural unions, which have deep roots in some cultures around the world. If the majority is willing to take the big leap, it is hard to see how it can say no to the shorter one.
Actually, it’s not that hard at all. For a detailed analysis of the constitutional problems with this argument, I recommend Stephen Macedo’s latest post at Slate. In terms of logic and public policy, however, we can answer Roberts with a short video, from my 2012 marriage series:
I’m still digesting Obergefell, both the decision itself and its personal and social implications. Had you told me 25 years ago, when I first started speaking and writing about LGBT rights, that the White House would be lit up rainbow to celebrate the U.S. Supreme Court’s granting the right to marry to same-sex couples in all 50 states, I might have answered “Not in my lifetime.” Even three years ago, when I published Debating Same-Sex Marriage with Maggie Gallagher, only a handful of states allowed same-sex couples to marry, and the federal government recognized none of those marriages. Never has an author been happier than I to see his book destined for the remainder bin.
I’ll post more soon. For now, savoring the moment.
Let’s ask John Corvino! (Ahem.) At The New York Times’ “Room for Debate,” I team up with my buddy Ron Belgau to defend, among other things, the sanctity of marriage. From the exchange:
[T]he argument in the present case is not that Mr. Rayhons physically or emotionally harmed his wife, but rather that he violated her consent merely by having sex. I don’t see how that argument wouldn’t apply equally to his brushing her hair — which would indeed be wrong, and a violation of consent, if he did it to some random dementia patient who was not his wife. The marriage matters, as do other intentions the patient expressed prior to her dementia.
Read the full exchange here.
On this day 23 years ago, in Mary E. Gearing Hall at the University of Texas at Austin, I first delivered the lecture “What’s Morally Wrong with Homosexuality?” At the time, according to Gallup, 57% of Americans thought that homosexuality was not an “acceptable alternative lifestyle.” We’ve come a long way.
Prof. Gary Gutting of Notre Dame gives me a shout-out at the Stone in The New York Times:
The problem is that, rightly developed, natural-law thinking seems to support rather than reject the morality of homosexual behavior. Consider this line of thought from John Corvino, a philosopher at Wayne State University: “A gay relationship, like a straight relationship, can be a significant avenue of meaning, growth, and fulfillment. It can realize a variety of genuine human goods; it can bear good fruit. . . . [For both straight and gay couples,] sex is a powerful and unique way of building, celebrating, and replenishing intimacy.”
Read his full article here.
The Philosopher’s Magazine has finally posted my piece on the fact/opinion distinction.
Why worry about the fact/opinion distinction? One reason is that precise thinking is valuable for its own sake. But there’s another, more pragmatic reason. Despite its unclear meaning, the claim “That’s just your opinion” has a clear use: It is a conversation-stopper. It’s a way of diminishing a claim, reducing it to a mere matter of taste which lies beyond dispute.
Read the full article here.
There’s a nice profile of John at the Urban Innovation Exchange:
John Corvino is a refreshing antidote to the screaminess on one of the central issues of our times – marriage equality. It befits his work as a philosophy professor at Wayne State University; as such, he needs to think deeply about the very nature of morality and why we behave the way we do. It also befits his life; he’s an out gay man who has been with his partner, Mark, for 13 years.
Read the full profile here.
You don’t have to be a “libertine” to recognize that what the young boy is experiencing is not just a really, really, really strong desire for friendship. More important, you don’t have to be a libertine to acknowledge that willful blindness to what the boy is actually experiencing can do serious, lasting damage.
Read full article here.
At Commonweal, John explains how a little queer theory (misunderstood and misapplied) can be a dangerous thing:
What social conservatives want is nothing less than to dismantle the very vocabulary by which we express and realize our inchoate longings for intimacy. They want to push us back to a time when homosexuality was not merely the “love that dare not speak its name,” but the love that could not speak it. They want to restore a regime where the boy with the funny feeling might—if he’s lucky—grow up to have a good-enough heterosexual marriage, but he might just as easily grow up to have a lonely life of furtive, dangerous same-sex encounters.