Same Sex Marriage: A Civil Debate
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Same Sex Marriage: A Civil Debate

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100 turn out at MSSU for debate on same-sex marriage issue
February 11, 2009 11:22 pm
— By Melissa Dunson
mdunson@joplinglobe.com
Lindsey Hight, 19, a sophomore respiratory-therapy major at Missouri Southern State University, was
intrigued when she saw the flier for Wednesday night’s debate on same-sex marriage.
“I thought it was kind of weird to have it at Southern,” Hight said. “It’s never been a big issue.”
But John Corvino and Glenn Stanton, both with doctorates, made it a big issue. The two men debated the
issue before a crowd of about 100 people in Corley Auditorium at MSSU.
Jeff Walker, 23, a senior graphic-design major at MSSU and president of the Campus Activities Board, said
that although the two men disagree on most public policy, they travel together debating on a number of issues
across the country.
Corvino, a philosopher, author, gay-rights advocate and homosexual, said homosexuals exist, and it’s just a
question of how society treats them.
“There are gay and lesbian people in the world,” Corvino said. “You might not like it, you may not know a lot
about it, but they are there. Do we ignore them, actively shun them, or do we support them?”
He said changing the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples is not only in the interest of those
individuals, but also society as a whole because it increases the number of stable relationships and decreases
the number of people who will need to take advantage of social services.
Stanton, an author who works with Focus On the Family in Colorado, spoke second and said the issue is not
about marriage equality but about changing a definition. And changing the definition of marriage has not gone
well for America in the past, Stanton said, neither for the adults nor for children.
He cited studies that suggest that children who grow up in homes outside of the traditional family structure —
divorced, single parent, stepfamily, cohabitation — do not fare as well as children who grow up in the
traditional family structure. He said changes to marriage law such as the no-fault divorce law passed in the
1970s have torn families apart and weakened society.
“I’m not saying that just because it’s always been this way, let’s do it this way,” Stanton said. “What I am
saying is that there are reasons that the universal family structure is the same throughout culture and history,
and that changing that has not been good, so let’s be cautious.”
After both men argued their cases, they took questions from the crowd that seemed to be in support of samesex
marriage.
The event was put on by the Campus Activities Board as a part of Healthy Relationships Week to coincide
with Valentine’s Day on Saturday.
“Although we disagree on (same-sex marriage) and on many other issues, we share a commitment to
reasoned public dialogue,” Corvino said in explaining his relationship with Stanton.
Walker, the CAB president, said he hasn’t noticed a significant problem at Missouri Southern of intolerance
or discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation. He said the CAB brought the debate in because the
issue continues to be a topic of interest and concern as states across the nation pass laws for and against
3/11/2009 100 turn out at MSSU for debate on s…
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issue continues to be a topic of interest and concern as states across the nation pass laws for and against
same-sex marriage.
It was a breath of fresh air to Ruth Eichinger, 19, a freshman biochemistry major and an international student
from Austria. She is the president of the recently restarted Equality Alliance at MSSU, a student organization
that promotes tolerance for people regardless of their sexual orientation.
“I came (to MSSU) with a couple of preconceptions because this is the Bible Belt, but so far I haven’t really
encountered real ignorance yet,” Eichinger said.
Eichinger said groups like the Equality Alliance and events like the debate are becoming more important as
globalization makes the world a smaller place.
“People have the right to believe whatever they want to believe unless it hurts someone, but nowadays, in this
global community, there’s no way to avoid culture clash, so tolerance is necessary to live together in peace,”
she said. - The Joplin Globe


On behalf of Texas Tech University, I would like to thank you for allowing us to work with you in bringing Dr. John Corvino and Mr. Glenn Stanton to campus. They were both wonderful individuals and very easy to get along with. Additionally, they were very polite and genuinely friendly.

Our show in the Student Union Allen Theatre had 432 individuals and many of the students stuck around to ask Dr. Corvino and Mr. Stanton questions. They were more than willing to oblige and we truly appreciate their patience. We have nothing, but great things to tell you about the debate and would happily recommend this program to other institutions.

Once again, thank you. If you have any other questions about the show, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Sincerely,

Zane Reif
Associate Director - Student Union & Activities
Advisor - Tech Activities Board (TAB) - Texas Tech University


After a short introduction by West campus student development coordinator Victor M. Collazo, and some minor technical issues with the microphone system, Corvino, an advocate of same-sex marriage, opened the debate by stressing the importance of engaging in such discussion. Corvino, a philosophy professor at Wayne State University in Detroit, Mich., acknowledged that whilst he and Stanton disagree on the issue of same-sex marriage, they share a responsibility to offer reasoned and civil debate in order to better inform people.

In support of same-sex marriage, Corvino put forward that not only are alternative relationships good for people, they are ultimately good for society as a whole. According to Corvino, being in a happy and stable relationship encourages those individuals to “flourish as a citizen”, thus benefiting the larger community. Corvino stressed in his closing preliminary argument that giving marriage to homosexual couples does not mean that the right is taken away from heterosexual couples, and went on to say that we should “recognize, support and promote” same-sex marriage, likening the issue to that of female suffrage. Overall, he said:”same-sex marriage is a win-win situation. It’s good for people, It’s good for society.”

Next, Stanton took to the stage to present the opposing argument. Stanton also began by expressing the importance of debating the issue, which he said allowed for an “enriched democracy.” Stanton is a Senior Analyst for marriage and sexuality at Focus on the Family, an organization dedicated to supporting the traditional family unit. His argument placed huge emphasis on the way that same-sex marriage alters the traditional, “unmatchable benefit” that families with a mother and father have. Stanton was also keen to point out it was crucial for people to recognize that hatred and prejudice were not contributing factors in his opposition to same-sex marriage, as often people against the issue are misunderstood and interpreted as being discriminatory.
After both speakers had taken the allocated ten minutes to present preliminary arguments, each side had five minutes to counter the ideas that had just been presented. Corvino first responded, referring to the experience of a homosexual couple he knows very well, and their successful adoption of three children. He said of Stanton’s view that children are better off with both a mother and father, “In a world where thousands of children are deprived of parents, it is morally irresponsible to suggest that same-sex marriage families are depriving children, when they too offer love and support.” Stanton then countered by stating that he did not wish to deprive same-sex couples of having the same rights as heterosexual couples, but said that “we should not redefine the established and traditional definition of the family unit.”
Shortly after the speakers responded to each other’s arguments, the debate was opened up to the group of 25 participants. Both Corvino and Stanton received challenging questions from Valencia students and other participants, particularly from one prospective Valencia student, Dylan Schwartz of Winter Garden. Schwartz challenged Stanton’s anti same-sex marriage view in particular, and later said “I feel that he side stepped my questions and definitely had inconsistencies in his argument.” Although Schwartz also pointed out that he had “a better understanding of the opposition to same-sex marriage” and that he appreciated the opinions of Stanton. He later said “I’m glad this debate came to campus and people were better enlightened of the issue, particularly with the impending election.”

Another Valencia student, Kettia Kapi, said: “I am not for gay marriage. I think the purpose of marriage is to have children. I think it’s confusing for people to understand so I am glad this debate happened.” Another participant, who wished to remain anonymous, expressed her concerns about the opposition to same-sex marriage. The 53 year old woman of Winter Park has been in a lesbian relationship for four years, after previously being married. Her husband passed away 20 years ago, and she explained, “I got married at 16, I did what everyone said I should do.” She told of her difficulties, saying, “I am very active in my church community, If i come out I can no longer participate in church.” She later said of the debate, “I thought it was well presented, I thought both speakers were very open-minded.”
The debate continued well after it’s scheduled 2 p.m finish, with a number of students staying to talk personally to both Corvino and Stanton. Of the debate, Corvino said “The participation was very lively today, It was great.” Stanton added that it was “tremendously important for students to hear other students views, and understand why they think the way they do.”
Student development coordinator Collazo eventually brought the debate to a close, and said that he hoped many more topical discussions could take place at Vale - Valencia Voice


The program went over so well here at Maryville, that we had several students and faculty approach us afterwards and articulate that it was the best event our Campus Activities Board had put on all year.

As Maryville's Campus Activities Board, Special Events Officer, I highly recommend this event, and encourage you to bring this program to your school or community. This program will bring excitement and knowledge to your community in a well presented and professional manner that everyone will be talking about for a long time. - Paul Wray, Campus Activities Board


Thank you *both* so, so much. You guys were dynamic, engaging, smart, funny. We couldn't have asked for a better experience for the audience. There was incredible plurality of thought and great energy in the space. I heard lots of positive feedback today from all pockets of campus. The mutual warmth and respect between you is abundantly evident, but so is the conviction behind your individual positions. All my best, S
- Suzanne Ashworth


Everything was wonderful. Glenn and John were a pleasure to assist, and their engagement of the audience was great. The program was very interesting and educational. People mentioned that they were there to get a different perspective on the topic, and they did. They asked tons of questions, and respectfully discussed their thoughts. Over all, it was a very successful event. - Avery Smith


Just wanted to let you know that yesterday's debate was a HUGE success for us! I'm forwarding some coverage we received from a local news station, I hope you enjoy it. We had a minor glitch getting the show started due to John's flight trouble, but it really didn't matter. Our lecture hall was packed, standing room only, and all the students/faculty/staff waited patiently until 4:30 for things to start. John and Glen kept fielding questions until just after 6:15...and over 60 people stayed through to the very end. They got a little heated on a few issues, which was quite fun to see. John said that they usually don't get that way during their program, and that the ride back to STL would probably be interesting. :)

We didn't end up having someone from the college tape the entire debate, but I did talk to the cameraman from KRCG. He got about 12 minutes of footage, but not the entire thing. Do you want me get a copy of that for you? I think there is live footage on the KRCG website too, so feel free to check that out as well.

I put the check in the mail this morning, so it should be in your hands soon! Thanks again for everything! - Jackie Weber


First of all... SO sorry about the check! It just completely slipped my mind. I just checked our safe, and it was there! So I dropped it in the mail yesterday. I apologize for the delay.

The event went REALLY well. Both John and Glenn were very easy to work with and made the experience great. Our attendance was 457, which is pretty decent for us. The highest for a speaker series event so far this semester! I think the students really enjoyed the event, and got a lot out of it. As soon as the Q&A began, there were two lengthy lines at the microphones, and the questions and conversation kept going in the hallway long after the event ended. I appreciated John & Glenn's willingness to stay and talk with students. There several adminstrators at the event as well and they all gave kudos for a great, educational event.

. . .

It was great working with you... and with John & Glenn. Hopefully we can work together again in the future! Have a great rest of your week! - Matt Eickhoff


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Bio

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.

In this interactive program, Glenn and John present the cases for and against same sex marriage and invite the audience to join the civil discourse.

Glenn T. Stanton is the Senior Analyst for Marriage and Sexuality and the Director of Social Research and Cultural Affairs at Focus on the Family. Glenn has authored or contributed to nine books on the intersections of family and cutting social issues, including Why Marriage Matters: Reasons to Believe in Marriage in Postmodern Society and Marriage on Trial: The Case Against Same-Sex Marriage and Parenting. Glenn had been featured on both C-SPAN BookTV and a PBS documentary. He serves as a consultant to the Bush Administration on increasing father involvement in the Head Start program.

Corvino, a philosophy professor at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, is the editor of Same Sex: Debating the Ethics, Science, and Culture of Homosexuality. His writings have appeared in regional and national print media, at the online Independent Gay Forum, and in various scholarly anthologies, including Do We Need Minority Rights? and The Philosophy of Sex. For over a decade he has entertained and educated diverse audiences, including professional organizations, the Lawrence Livermore National Research Laboratory, the National Institutes of Health, and dozens of colleges and universities.