Philosophy Professor John Corvino spoke to the UAA community at the Wendy William Center on Feb. 17. The lecture titled “Is homosexuality immoral?” presented 4 sources of controversy on gay rights: the bible, non-universiality, social harm, and unnaturalness. Corvino stressed that this question is applicable to all sexual orientations because morality is a public concern; “It essentially asks how we treat each other.”
Corvino said that many of the objections toward homosexuality is because the person focuses on the sexual part of their lives. “Straight people have lives, gay people have lifestyles; Straight people have moral visions, gay people have agendas”.
Corvino said society must be careful to control any kind of relationships. “It isn’t easy to tease apart the intimate relationships on how we organize life.”
To address the first objection, that the bible is against homosexuality, Corvino cited various passages from Leviticus that endorsed immoral practices like slavery. An example is Leviticus 25:44. According to the New International Version, the verse states “Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.” The American King James version states “Both thy bondmen, and they bondmaids, which though shalt have, (shall be) of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids.” Corvino said that one cannot take everything from the bible literally—including those passages that condemn homosexuality, and that even if God is infallible, “we may overestimate our ability to discern God’s voice.”
The second common objection toward homosexuality is that if everyone is homosexual the human race could not continue; thus homosexuality is bad. During his time as Notre Dame, Corvino recalled a priest that raised this argument. His reply was “If everyone was a Roman Catholic Priest, the human race would not continue”.
The third objection is that homosexuality is harmful. Corvino said that the only harmful thing about it were the social forces that make it necessary for one to “come out”.
Finally, Corvino addressed the argument that homosexuality is unnatural. He offered many reasons; one was “The fact most people don’t do it doesn’t make it wrong.”
The last 45 minutes were spent with Q & A.