What's Wrong with Homosexuality?

What's Wrong with Homosexuality?

by John Corvino
     
 

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For the last twenty years, John Corvino--widely known as the author of the weekly column "The Gay Moralist"--has traversed the country responding to moral and religious arguments against same-sex relationships. In this timely book, he shares that experience--addressing the standard objections to homosexuality and offering insight into the culture wars more generally. … See more details below

Overview

For the last twenty years, John Corvino--widely known as the author of the weekly column "The Gay Moralist"--has traversed the country responding to moral and religious arguments against same-sex relationships. In this timely book, he shares that experience--addressing the standard objections to homosexuality and offering insight into the culture wars more generally.
Is homosexuality unnatural? Does the Bible condemn it? Are people born gay (and should it matter either way)? Corvino approaches such questions with precision, sensitivity, and good humor. In the process, he makes a fresh case for moral engagement, forcefully rejecting the idea that morality is a "private matter." This book appears at a time when same-sex marriage is being hotly debated across the U.S. Many people object to such marriage on the grounds that same-sex relationships are immoral, or at least, that they do not deserve the same social recognition as heterosexual relationships. Unfortunately, the traditional rhetoric of gay-rights advocates--which emphasizes privacy and tolerance--fails to meet this objection. Legally speaking, when it comes to marriage, "tolerance" might be enough, Corvino concedes, but socially speaking, marriage requires more. Marriage is more than just a relationship between two individuals, recognized by the state. It is also a relationship between those individuals and a larger community. The fight for same-sex marriage, ultimately, is a fight for full inclusion in the moral fabric. What is needed is a positive case for moral approval--which is what Corvino unabashedly offers here.
Corvino blends a philosopher's precision with a light touch that is full of humanity and wit. This volume captures the voice of one of the most rational participants in a national debate noted for generating more heat than light.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Known as the “Gay Moralist” for his weekly column and regular debates supporting same-sex relationships, Corvino, the philosophy chair at Wayne State University and a long-time gay rights advocate, brings his trademark thoughtfulness to the page in this slim and provocative volume (whose title, readers will quickly realize, is confrontational rather than condemning). Intertwining personal experience, in-depth research, and responses to and from other academics, he systematically approaches many of the moral and philosophical questions regarding homosexuality. In chapters with titles like “A Risky Lifestyle” and “Born This Way,” Corvino (Debating Same-Sex Marriage, coauthor) addresses mainstream objections to homosexuality and unpacks why so many antigay arguments fall short of the mark. Likewise, he examines traditional religious arguments, dismissing, among other things, the oft-cited examples of Sodom and Gomorrah and Old Testament prohibitions. His work is unfailingly patient and laced with humor, and it’s clear he counts some of his most ideologically opposed debate partners—like Glenn Stanton of Focus on the Family—as respected colleagues and friends. Corvino’s “hope this book invites an ongoing dialogue that is thoughtful, rigorous, sensitive, and productive”; he’s successful on all counts, and the result is an essential and accessible read for any interested parties. Agent: Gina Kirkland, Kirkland Productions. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
"Whatever might be wrong with homosexuality, John Corvino rebuts, in this concise, thorough and chatty book."—Mark Vernon, Times Literary Supplement

"[Corvino] writes in plain language leavened with wit, sentiment, and personality-a manner that reflects the book's origins in Corvino's half of a debate over gay marriage that he and Focus on the Family speaker Glenn Stanton have presented on college campuses throughout North America." —Booklist

"[Corvino's] work is unfailingly patient and laced with humor...an essential and accessible read for any interested parties." —Publishers Weekly

"Corvino's book is an exemplar of public philosophy. It is an entertaining and rigorous read."—Justin P. McBrayer, Social Theory and Practice

"[F]or anyone interested in the topic this is an absolute page-turner. Corvino's style is eminently engaging and peppered with jokes and anecdotes. But mostly, this is simply a hugely important book."—Mark Flowers, School Library Journal

"Corvino's writing style is readable and informed by intelligence and wit. He is also respectful of opposing views and deals with them fairly. Well worth reading, this book sensibly organizes ethical objections to homosexual behavior, takes the time to refute them, and clarifies how defenders of homosexual rights should respond to them."
—Library Journal

"John Corvino has written a wonderful, deeply exhilarating book. Its virtues of rigor, fair-mindedness, subtlety, and clarity should be everywhere in our public culture, but in fact they are sadly rare. Read Corvino not only to learn about moral arguments concerning homosexuality — and you will learn a lot, regardless of your ethical starting point — but also to be reminded that it is possible for people who deeply disagree to argue respectfully, fairly, and with empathetic imagination and even a sense of humor. This is public philosophy at its very best."—Martha C. Nussbaum, Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics, University of Chicago

"John Corvino's new book, What's Wrong with Homosexuality?, is stunning in its clarity and logic. Corvino's is that rare combination of a brilliant and logical mind, and a warm and human heart. He is particularly adept and helpful in critiquing the natural law arguments against homosexuality, and teasing apart the various nature/nurture approaches to the question of whether gay people are "born that way." Most impressive is his combining his rational, philosophical arguments with his own (and others') experience of being gay and partnered. Anyone interested in seriously arguing against the acceptance of gay people and our relationships will have to contend with the brilliantly articulated, rational and coherent case made in this book."—The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, IX Bishop of New Hampshire

"John Corvino is a philosophically sophisticated, lucid writer who makes a serious effort here to engage those (like me) with whom he disagrees. He argues aggressively, to be sure, but does not resort to calling his critics names or impugning their motives. Moreover, he is commendably willing to come to grips with challenges to the presuppositions and implications of the position he holds. He is, in short, a worthy intellectual opponent in the debate over the ethics and meaning of sex and marriage."—Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University

Library Journal
Corvino (philosophy, Wayne State Univ.) is a regular debater of issues surrounding sexual and gender topics, and wrote the column "The Gay Moralist" for 365gay.com. He is a former Roman Catholic and writes as an opponent of Catholic moral teaching on sexual matters, also engaging with the biblical literalism of many Protestants. He gathers the principal objections to homosexual behavior into seven chapters, each with its own theme; for example, Chapter Four, "It's Not Natural," summarizes and refutes objections arising from Catholic natural-law doctrine, and Chapter Six deals with objections that classify homosexuality with beastiality, pederasty, and similar behaviors. These comparisons invoke the slippery-slope theory that by tolerating homosexual behavior we lay ourselves open socially to worse phenomena. Corvino's writing style is readable and informed by intelligence and wit. He is also respectful of opposing views and deals with them fairly. VERDICT Well worth reading, this book sensibly organizes ethical objections to homosexual behavior, takes the time to refute them, and clarifies how defenders of homosexual rights should respond to them. Recommended.—James F. DeRoche, Alexandria, VA

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199323913
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
02/01/2013
Series:
Philosophy in Action
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
804,968
File size:
2 MB

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