Sunday, February 22, 2004
Conference on "The Future of Marriage"
The Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics, and Public Policy is hosting a symposium on "The Future of Marriage," Wednesday, February 25, 2004 (Ash Wednesday). Speakers and participants include Professor Gerard Bradley (Notre Dame), Professor Andrew Koppelman (Northwestern), Alan Sears (Alliance Defense Fund), and Professor Paul Griffiths (University of Illinois, Chicago). This is an excellent, and genuinely diverse, array of speakers. The Journal has done well, and should be congratulated.
Reflecting back on my exchange (below) with Rob, I note that Professor Griffiths contributed a provocative essay on same-sex marriage to Commonweal magazine (October 2003) recently, in which he concluded that "In cases of this sort, public argument cannot resolve disagreement. This is not to say that there is no truth of the matter, or that there are no good arguments about it. It is only to say what is also true, which is that public argument will not succeed in producing consensus in this matter. To think that it could is to overestimate its capacities. Catholics should not, therefore, advocate the embodiment of the orthodox view in U.S. marriage law because we think there are persuasive public arguments about the question. There aren't." To which Margaret O'Brien Steinfels responded: "Paul Griffiths seems to me mistaken in his claim that the Catholic view of marriage is so markedly different from that of others that political prudence counsels that Catholics not insist it be reflected in civil law. ...Withdrawal from public debate on the definition of marriage, or any other publicly contested issue is the gesture of sectarians--a perennial temptation of certain Protestant groups, and now of some Catholics, both right and left, as well as the newly self-styled "orthodox Catholics.'" (Thanks to Maggie Gallagher's web site for the quotes).