Same-sex marriage conference at Catholic Univ. of America

I’ll write about this when I get back…


Columbus School of Law, Interdisciplinary Program in Law & Religion

The Marriage Law Project, Washington, DC 20064

What’s the Story? A multidisciplinary discussion of Same-Sex Marriage & Religious Liberty

Monday, December 11, 2006

8:30-10:00am Sexual Orientation, Gay Marriage and Child Well- Being: Understanding the Social and Behavioral Science Debate

Are people born gay? Is there a gay gene? Because social and behavioral scientists study the ways in which society’s understanding of human sexuality affects the daily lives of individuals and groups, social and behavioral science data are among the most important components of the SSM debate. A panel of leading experts will discuss what the latest identical- twin studies and other cutting-edge scientific research suggests about the origins of sexual orientation.

Scheduled panelists include:

Michael Bailey, PhD, Professor, Northwestern University

Bradford Wilcox, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Virginia

Warren Throckmorton, PhD, Associate Professor, Grove City College

10:15-12:00 Human Sexuality, Catholic Teaching & Human Rights

Drawing on Scripture, tradition, and the natural law, the Catechism of the Catholic Church makes two points central to the marriage debate: 1) The equality of all persons rests essentially on their dignity as persons and the rights that flow from it: Every form of social or cultural discrimination in fundamental personal rights on the grounds of sex, race, color, social conditions, language, or religion must be curbed and eradicated as incompatible with God’s design (1935) and 2) All extra-marital sexual activity is forbidden (2351-2359). “Queer Theorists” the leading edge thinkers of the GLBTT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and transsexual) community take precisely the opposite view. They argue that any attempt to draw a distinction between the dignity of persons “who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies” (Catechism 2358) and their sexual conduct is at best, irrational, and, at worst, evidence of anti-homosexual hostility. So too with the traditional understandings of marriage, family, sex, gender, and sexuality.

Scheduled Panelists include:

Rev. Thomas Acklin, O.S.B, S.T.D, Ph.D, Director Of Counseling, St. Vincent Seminary

The Rev. Donald Paul Sullins, MDiv., PhD., Associate Professor, The Catholic University of America

David Crawford,PhD, Assistant Professor, John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family

1:30pm-3:00 – Send Lawyers, Lobbyists, and Lots of Money!

A panel on the financial and legal consequences for Catholic institutions when gay marriage and domestic partnerships become official state public policy. Because legalization of SSM is based on the premise that restricting marriage to opposite sex couples is a form of discrimination on the basis of sex or sexual orientation, one of the most significant dangers facing the Church is litigation that seeks to prove that Church teaching is discriminatory. If accepted, religious organizations will not only be forced to pay damages, but also the attorney fees of the plaintiffs who sue them. Because many states also take the view that discrimination by charitable organizations is against public policy, the Church will also face a sustained attack on its tax exempt status.

Scheduled Panelists include:

Marc Stern, Assistant Executive Director of the American Jewish Congress and Co-Director of its Commission on Law and Social Action

Anthony Picarello, Esq., President and General Counsel, The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty

Jordan Lorence, Esq., Senior Legal Counsel, Alliance Defense Fund

Robert Destro, Esq., Professor, The Columbus School of Law, The Catholic University of America

3:15-4:30 p.m. Religious Expression or Illegal Discrimination? Reports from the Streets

Scheduled Panelists include:

Paul Devin, Esq., Supreme Advocate, Knights of Columbus

Daniel Avila, Massachusetts Catholic Conference, Associate Director for Policy & Research

James Sweeney, Esq., Legal Counsel, California Catholic Conference