Same-Sex Marriage To Be Examined at Day-Long Conference at Yale Divinity

NEW HAVEN — The third event of a four-part series entitled More Than a Monologue: Sexual Diversity and the Catholic Church will focus attention on the role of the Catholic Church in the debate over same-sex marriage.  Well-known legal experts and theologians will examine both the civil and the religious dimension of the issue at Same-Sex Marriage and the Catholic Church: Voices from Law, Religion, and the Pews, to be held at Yale Divinity School on Saturday.

WHERE:     Yale Divinity School 409 Prospect Street, New Haven

WHEN:  Saturday  9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (full conference schedule below)

 WHO:         Speakers at event will include:

  • Michael John Perry, Professor of Law and Senior Fellow, Center for the Study of Law and Religion, Emory Law School; author of Religion in Politics:  Constitutional and Moral Perspectives (1997); and Constitutional Rights, Moral Controversy, and the Supreme Court (2009); among many others
  • Carol Conklin and Janet Peck, plaintiffs in Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health et al., 2008
  • Joette Katz, former Associate Justice of the CT Supreme Court that rendered the decision in CT’s same-sex marriage case; currently Commissioner of CT Department of Children and Families, Instructor at Yale Law School and at Quinnipiac University School of Law
  • Lisa Sowle Cahill, Professor of Theology, Boston College, author of Sex, Gender, and Christian Ethics (1996) and Sexuality and the U.S. Catholic Church: Crisis and Renewal (The Church in the 21st Century) [with John Garvey and T. Frank Kennedy] (2006)
  • Patricia Beattie Jung, Professor of Christian Ethics and Professor of Health and Welfare, Saint Paul School of Theology, author of “Catholic Sexual Ethics in the Twenty-First Century” (2009)
  • Diana Swancutt, Associate Professor of New Testament, Yale Divinity School, author of articles on gender and sexuality in New Testament interpretation, and a forthcoming work on gender ideology and the Body of Christ in the writings of Paul

WHY: When the Connecticut Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in the fall of 2008, the Connecticut Bishops responded first with a public statement offered on behalf of all the Catholic faithful in the state (without their deliberation or consent) condemning the decision and arguing that marriage was not a civil right to be exercised by gay and lesbian people.  The Bishops then paid for an expensive television ad campaign seeking a Constitutional Convention, in an effort to define marriage constitutionally so as to exclude same-sex marriage.  In neither their public statement nor their ads did the Bishops represent the voices of all the Catholic faithful.

Catholicism is anything but monolithic on the subject of same-sex marriage. In 2011, 60 percent of U.S Catholics polled support same-sex marriage, with only 38 percent opposed. From 1996-2007 American Catholics have consistently been less opposed to same-sex marriage than the general population. And over two-thirds of U.S. Catholics support the need for family recognitions, in the form of civil rights, for same-sex partners. It is the right time for a rigorous, lively dialogue about same-sex marriage in the Catholic Church”  Diana Swancutt, conference spokesperson/organizer, Yale Divinity School 

One additional conference in the More Than a Monologue series will take place on Saturday, Oct. 29 at Fairfield University:  The Care of Souls: Sexual Diversity, Celibacy, and Ministry

*Yale Divinity School Conference Schedule:
8:00 -9:00            Registration

9:00 – 9:15             Welcome & Introductions            Harold W. Attridge, Yale Divinity School,  Diana Swancutt, Yale Divinity School, Michael Norko, Yale School of Medicine

9:15 – 10:45            Keynote:  “The Right to Religious Freedom, With Particular Reference to Same-Sex Marriage,” Michael J. Perry, Emory Law School Response, Pamela Karlan, Stanford Law School

10:45 – 11:00             Break

11:00 – 12:30            Panel: The Kerrigan decision in Connecticut, Joette Katz, former Associate Justice of the CT                                                                                             Supreme Court,   Michael Norko, Yale University, Carol Conklin & Janet Peck, Kerrigan plaintiffs Lisa Sowle Cahill, Boston College

12:30 – 1:30             Lunch

1:30 – 3:00            Keynote Address: “God Sets the Lonely in Families,” Patricia Beattie Jung, Saint Paul School of Theology Response Rev. Joan M. Martin, Episcopal Divinity School

3:00 – 3:30            Break, and move to discussion rooms

3:30 – 4:30            Breakout discussions & discussion leaders:  Pastoral care in parishes  Rev. Walter Cuenin, Brandeis University  Marquand Chapel Pastoral care in  campus/youth ministry , Rev. Robert Beloin, Yale University Niebuhr Hall – N123,  Ecclesiology & the laity, Paul Lakeland, Fairfield University, Great Hall – N100, Scripture, Diana Swancutt, Yale Divinity School Latourette Hall – S223

4:45 – 5:30            Concluding session

5:30                        Adjourn to reception

Live webcasts of this conference can be found at on the day of the event. 


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