Traditional marriage, between one man and one woman, has existed for millennia, and until recently, States always adhered to the traditional definition. But does this traditional practice violate the Constitution? The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment provides: "No State shall ... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." And now, the Supreme Court is poised to answer the question of whether this Clause requires States to jettison the traditional definition and license marriages between two people of the same sex. The best guess is that the Court will decide the question in late June. Can't wait? On June 2nd, Intelligence Squared U.S. and the National Constitution Center will present one of our most timely and provocative debates. Does the Equal Protection Clause require States to license same-sex marriages?
John Donvan is the moderator for "Intelligence Squared U.S." He is an author and correspondent for ABC News. He has hosted "Nightline," "World News," "Good Morning America," and NPR’s “Talk of the Nation,” in addition to producing “My Generation” for PBS. He has also served as ABC’s Chief White House correspondent and held postings in London, Jerusalem, Moscow and Amman. Recognized by the National Magazine Awards for his 2011 Atlantic profile piece “Autism’s First Child,” he is currently writing a book on the history of autism to be published by Crown in 2013.
Dr. John C. Eastman
John C. Eastman is the Henry Salvatori Professor of Law & Community at Chapman University School of Law, where he was dean from 2007 to 2010 before stepping down to pursue a bid for California Attorney General. He is the founding director of the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, a public interest law firm affiliated with the Claremont Institute. Before entering the academy, he was a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Fourth Circuit Judge J. Michal Luttig, the director of congressional and public affairs at the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and an attorney with the national law firm of Kirkland & Ellis. A nationally recognized expert in constitutional law, Eastman has published extensively, including as co-author of a major constitutional law textbook, and has participated in over 60 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. He is chairman of the board of the National Organization for Marriage.
Sherif Girgis, co-author of What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense (2012), is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in philosophy at Princeton and his JD at Yale Law School. He majored in philosophy at Princeton, where he won several academic prizes, including for his senior thesis on sex ethics. Upon graduating Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude in 2008, he went on to earn a master’s degree in moral, political and legal philosophy at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. His paper “What Is Marriage?”, coauthored with Robert George and Ryan Anderson, quickly became Social Science Research Network’s most downloaded paper of its year. Their book on the same subject, which improves and expands on the article, was released in 2012. In addition to publishing in more popular contexts, he has given lectures and talks and engaged in debates on marriage and related topics throughout the U.S. and abroad.
A prominent American civil rights attorney and advocate. He is the founder and executive director of Freedom to Marry, a national non-profit organization working for marriage equality between gay and straight couples. Wolfson authored the book Why Marriage Matters; America, Equality, and Gay People's Right to Marry.