Debate on same-sex marriage planned here Tuesday evening

Debate on same-sex marriage planned here Tuesday evening

Two speakers with strongly held, opposing viewpoints will debate the topic of same-sex marriage at 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 17, in the auditorium of O’Shaughnessy Educational Center on the St. Paul campus of the University of St. Thomas.

The debate, sponsored by St. Thomas’ University Lectures Committee, is free and open to the public. For more information, call Benjamin Nebo, chair of the committee, at (651) 962-6136.

Arguing the pros and cons of same-sex marriage will be Richard Mohr, one of the country’s leading advocates for lesbian and gay marriage, and Dwight Duncan, a professor at Southern New England School of Law who argues that gay marriage is an attempt to normalize homosexual behavior.

A noted conservative legal scholar on bioethics, legal ethics and constitutional law, Duncan has been involved in the ongoing legal debate on same-sex marriage for many years. He has filed amicus briefs on behalf of the states of Hawaii, Vermont, Massachusetts and New Jersey regarding court petitions to recognize same-sex marriage.

The author of many scholarly law articles on First Amendment rights, euthanasia and same-sex marriage, he also is a principal co-author of the Supreme Court briefs on the prevailing side of the Hurley v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Organization where the court ruled in 1995 that forcing a veterans group to include a gay contingent in its annual St. Patrick’s Day parade was a violation of the First Amendment.

Duncan holds degrees from Harvard, Georgetown and the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome.

Mohr, professor of philosophy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, began his career as a classicist. Since the mid-1980s he has chiefly written on social issues affecting gay and lesbian Americans. He argues that nothing in American marriage law now calls for gender differences between spouses.

His six books include the 1988 Gays/Justice: A Study of Ethics, Society and Law, the 1994 A More Perfect Union: Why Straight America Must Stand Up for Gay Rights, and his 2005 The Long Arc of Justice: Lesbian and Gay Marriage, Equality and Rights. He also has written on public policy for magazines and newspapers, including the Chronicle of Higher Education, The Nation, Chicago Tribune and Boston Globe.

Mohr holds degrees from the University of Chicago and the University of Toronto.

Mohr and Duncan have debated the topic at other colleges and universities throughout the country.