DETROIT (WWJ) – A Wayne State professor was scheduled to give a speech at a Catholic college but then suddenly was asked not to speak.

Professor John Corvino was to make a trip out to Providence College in Rhode Island to give a speech he called ‘The Meaning of Gay Marriage.’

Corvino sat down with WWJ’s Charlie Langton and said he was not trying to stir up trouble and that his intentions were harm-free.

“I was invited by nine different department heads at that Catholic college,” Corvino said.  “So it wasn’t as if I was trying to infiltrate the place or that some rogue professor was bringing me in.  This was an event that was approved by nine different unit heads and then shut down by the provost.”

Corvino also explained that he wasn’t trying to change Catholic doctrine.

“I am not trying to change Catholic doctrine,” Corvino said.  “But even with Catholic doctrine there’s room for different positions on what our legal definition of marriage should be which is not the same as the church’s definition of marriage.”

Corvino discussed why he felt it was important to discuss the topic of gay marriage at a Catholic college.

“Rhode Island is now a state that allows same-sex couples to marry,” Corvino said.  “This is an issue that is being debated across the country and, at any college, I think it’s important for students to be informed about different aspects of the issue.”

When asked about civil unions, Corvino said it wasn’t the same.

“Civil unions, I think, are better than nothing and, of course, in the state of Michigan we have nothing,” Corvino said.  “But it’s still not the same thing as full marriage equality.”

Corvino explained what he wanted his message to be when visiting the Catholic college.

“Their religion has every right to define marriage as it sees fit for that religion,” Corvino said.  “But when it comes to a matter of marriage as a public legal entity, same-sex marriage is good for the couple and good for society at large because as many people as possible should have the right to be free to marry the person they love.”

Corvino was recently asked to come back to the college to speak but this time only as part of a panel-debate forum.

He has accepted the invitation.


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