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Yesterday at the Detroit Free Press I argued that supporting Kim Davis’s religious liberty doesn’t mean tolerating her refusal to do her job as county clerk. “Religious liberty does not entitle the bearer to line-item vetoes for essential job functions,” I wrote.

In passing I mentioned that she has been divorced multiple times, which shows how inconsistent she is in enforcing Biblical law. Others have made the point more sharply, noting that she became pregnant with twins from husband number three while married to husband number one, in Maury-Povich-worthy twists. Husband number two, who adopted the twins, is also her current, fourth husband.

In response to revelations about her marital history, her Liberty Counsel attorneys have rushed to her defense. According to U.S. News and World Report:

[Attorney Mat] Staver says “it’s not really relevant, it’s something that happened in her past” and that her conversion to Christianity about four years ago wiped her slate clean. “It’s something that’s not relevant to the issue at hand,” he says. “She was 180 degrees changed.”

Her colleague Casey Davis makes a similar point:

Casey County Clerk Casey Davis, who is not related to Kim Davis, tells U.S. News he believes there’s a difference between getting a divorce and then repenting and living in a same-sex relationship.

“I don’t have any problem with that whatever, how she was before. If the Lord can forgive her, surely I can,” he says. “That’s something that’s forgivable just like any other sin, but if you continue in it and live in it, there’s a grave danger in that.”

Apparently these people are no better at interpreting the Bible than they are at interpreting the Constitution. For Jesus himself says quite clearly:

“Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery” (Mark 10: 11-12).

Notice that, in Jesus’ words, divorced and remarried people are not people who did sin (past tense) and then had their slate wiped clean. They are people who are sinning, as persistent and unrepentant adulterers. Why isn’t there “grave danger in that”?

I recognize of course that divorce is sometimes the best option for those in a bad marriage. On the other hand, unlike these folks, I don’t go around trying to substitute “God’s law”–or my own self-serving interpretation of it–for the laws of the state.

Read my full Freep piece here.

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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.

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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.

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Tim Hussin for the NYT

Tim Hussin for the NYT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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Photo Credit: Doug Coombe

Photo Credit: Doug Coombe

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.

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John New Student Convo

Bridge Magazine just posted a nice profile of John’s work.

Corvino is emerging as a new public face of gay America, well-suited for an era of increasing acceptance by the dominant culture – calm, polite, respectful, telegenic. In an era when cable television and the Internet reward snark and sarcasm, he meets the opposition on their own turf and engages in argument without insult.

Read the full story here.

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Corvino meme

In a New York Times “Room for Debate” discussion on plural marriage, John rebuts the slippery slope:

Polygamy raises a number of public-policy concerns that same-sex marriage does not. That said, the gay-rights movement has bolstered the polygamist-rights movement in one key way: by insisting that finding a practice weird or icky or religiously anathema is not sufficient reason to make it illegal.

Read his full post, and watch the accompanying video, here.

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