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Series Continues with the Topic of Gay Marriage

Leonard J. Berkowitz, Ph.D.
4/21/2009 —

Many people who favor equal rights still don’t favor gay marriage according to Leonard J. Berkowitz, Ph.D., associate professor of philosophy at Penn State York and creator of the “Today’s Ethical Issues” lecture series. Penn State York’s free lecture/discussion series focusing on the critical ethical issues of today will close out with a discussion of gay marriage. Sessions remaining are April 16, at noon, Martin Library, 159 East Market Street, York; April 21, at 10:30 a.m., Jewish Community Center of York, 2000 Hollywood Drive, York; and April 23, 10:30 a.m., White Rose Senior Center. 27 S. Broad Street, York.  The May 11 discussion at 10 a.m., at the Heritage Senior Center, 3700 Davidsburg Road, Dover, will focus on the death penalty.  All sessions are open to the public.

“What we do in this series is take up issues that are current and controversial,” said Berkowitz. “This topic of gay marriage suddenly became very topical in the 2008 election and given what’s going on in various states and the decisions being made,” he said.

Each year “Today’s Ethical Issues” focuses on one major ethical issue. Last year’s issue was war and morality. The focus for this year was the morality of the death penalty with final sessions covering the topic of gay marriage. The program has taken place in five locations in York County with four to six sessions at each location.

Berkowitz will consider two main questions -- Is same sex marriage immoral and why people think it is and should the law prohibit same sex marriage? During the sessions, Berkowitz will offer a variety of arguments and information to get the discussion moving. Points to be considered include if same sex marriage is approved, where is the stopping place? Would society then approve multiple partners, marrying children, or marrying animals? Other areas of discussion include why people think homosexuality is immoral and the religious ramifications as well as a discussion of what people believe the definition of marriage really is. There will be time for full analysis and discussion of all the major issues.

An award-winning faculty member at Penn State York since 1972, Berkowitz earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Duke University and a master’s and doctorate in philosophy from the Johns Hopkins University. He teaches courses in philosophy at the campus, including critical thinking, symbolic logic, ethics and social issues, and medical and health care ethics.

“Today’s Ethical Issues” is funded by a grant from the Grumbacher Family Foundation. For more information about the series, please contact Berkowitz at (717) 771-4159 or ljb1@psu.edu.

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