Debating Same-Sex Marriage (Point/Counterpoint) and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy New
  • List Price: $16.95
  • Save: $4.78 (28%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by
Gift-wrap available.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Debating Same-Sex Marriage (Point/Counterpoint) Paperback – June 1, 2012

See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$12.14 $10.00

Frequently Bought Together

Debating Same-Sex Marriage (Point/Counterpoint) + What's Wrong with Homosexuality? (Philosophy in Action)
Price for both: $32.83

Buy the selected items together


Looking for the Audiobook Edition?
Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook, and we'll alert our colleagues at If you are the author or rights holder, let Audible help you produce the audiobook: Learn more at

Product Details

  • Series: Point/Counterpoint
  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (June 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199756317
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199756315
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,455 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


this is a very useful book, especially in the way that it sets out the public reason arguments for and against same-sex marriage, and so lets readers evaluate which are more persuasive ... The book can and should be widely used in undergraduate courses in philosophy as well as other disciplines, and could be useful in law or public policy graduate programs, as well as appealing to the general educated public. Matthew Lister, Criminal Law and Philosophy ...a valuable introduction to the debate Megan Pearson, London School of Economics Review of Books ... a valuable addition to the debate. Publishers Weekly

About the Author

John Corvino is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Wayne State University.

Maggie Gallagher is co-founder of the National Organization for Marriage.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Dar on June 13, 2012
Format: Paperback
In reading the current reviews on "Debating Same-Sex Marriage" I felt compelled to respond. Many of the reviews and subsequent comments are biased toward whatever side the reviewer leans on the marriage-equality issue. While I understand that it is difficult to separate one's deep feelings on this topic from the impartiality needed to truly critique this book, I feel that not doing so is doing this book a huge disservice and will hurt it's deserved future potential for success.

Let me start by saying that I am clearly and definitely on one side of this issue. However, I feel that both Corvino and Gallagher should be commended for undertaking this project. They both knew that the other was going to do anything in their power to refute their arguments and they both have a "bring it on" attitude. I found it very interesting to read one's thoughts, then the comments on the other side. Where else can you read opposing views in one place like that? It is clear that while Corvino and Gallagher clearly disagree, they do respect each other and never stoop to "name calling". They give each other "props" when warranted and conduct this debate with the utmost maturity.

I feel much more educated on this topic thanks to this book. Not only am I more confident that I can speak about the topic for "my side" but that knowing the thoughts of the "other side" makes me even more armed with the knowledge to continue to strive for what I believe in. And I have a feeling that is the intent.
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Sam Clemens on July 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I do not want to feign neutrality, so in this review I mostly address those who, like me, favor same-sex marriage going in. Do I understand precisely where I disagree with the other side now? Have my views changed? Is it worth reading?

I thoroughly enjoyed Corvino's opening essay. I found it very clear, mostly thorough, extremely well-written, periodically funny, and I felt the vast majority was logically rigorous. While most of his arguments are "emotionless", he spends a little time humanizing the issue by recounting a gay wedding and an interview with some gay dads--this would be a decent reason to loan the book to opponents of same-sex marriage even if they are unaffected by the arguments themselves. His essay is not perfect, however, and it missed some important points which I will bring up shortly.

To be honest, I found Gallagher's opening essay painful to read--though please hear me out to the end. Much of the pain was stylistic: I found it repetitive, frequently unclear, often incomplete, and also less engaging--Corvino is the better writer, though that doesn't necessarily mean he should win the debate. As for content, unlike Corvino, Gallagher spent very little time countering the other side's claims. Her essay would have been much more useful to me if she had spent some time doing so, since I was mostly unable to rebut my own objections to her points. My other main content complaint is that her most important and longest argument was completely ineffective on me: to her, "marriage equality" is just not "true" because "marriage" means male-female--that's the definition. To me, I do not share her Platonic ideal (and I don't believe many people do)--I fully expect social institutions to evolve over time and serve multiple roles as society continues to change.
Read more ›
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
47 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Tim H. on June 9, 2012
Format: Paperback
Let me begin with saying that I actually read the book, unlike so many of the one-star reviewers so far. Ironically, giving such emotionally charged reviews while clearly never having actually read the book to consider the opposition's arguments fits the textbook definition of a bigot. Let's also not forget that half of this book was written by a proponent of same-sex marriage, so by giving it a one-star rating, one acknowledges that *both sides* were horrible in argumentation.

And if that wasn't enough, it becomes even more ironic given that this book was written so that the authors may "achieve disagreement." The book's purpose is to lay the cards out on the table so that one may see that there are good arguments underlying both positions. But evidently, one side of the debate is more interested in pulling the bigot card and shouting down the opposition than in any rational and respectful dialogue. But enough about the reviewers, on to the book itself.

In a point/counterpoint format, Corvino and Gallagher make the case for two competing views of marriage. Corvino, going first, follows people like Jonathan Rauch and defends the "conservative" case for same-sex marriage. Since marriage "promotes mutual lifelong caregiving in a way that no other institution does," (p.20) same-sex couples ought to be allowed to marry. To be sure, child welfare is an important aspect of marriage, but Corvino thinks that marriage is much more than this, hence why we recognize marriages between the infertile and elderly. Corvino is a sharp scholar who has done his homework: his opening essay engages with the arguments made elsewhere by Gallagher, along with other influential figures in the marriage debate such as Robert George and David Blankenhorn.
Read more ›
22 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Tim K on March 31, 2013
Format: Paperback
Let me begin by stating that I'm an advocate of full marriage equality for same-sex couples. That being said, I always think it's important to engage with those whom you disagree and be able to see where their reasoning is coming from (even though you may ultimately disagree).

This is especially true when it comes to "Debating Same-Sex Marriage." I had no allusions that my mind would be changed by this book. My intent was to get a feel for where the marriage equality debate is and how the opposing side sees the issue. For that reason alone, this is a worthy book, no matter which side you find yourself.

Without getting into the content (yet), the book is set up in two parts: Part I has both authors provide their specific case for/against same-sex marriage. In Part II, each author gets a chance for a rebuttal. Each author covers a lot of ground, but both provide plenty of references for further reading.

Even though I found Corvino's arguments much more convincing and thorough, Gallagher was able to provide and defend her own view of why marriage should not be extended to same-sex couples. What I've been able to discern, her main arguments boils down to this: Marriage brings a male and female together in sexual congress, keeps males in monogamous relationships, and provides children bore from said sexual congress a stable home.

Her argument, though, fails for one single reason (which Corvino elaborates on and defends): No one is trying to remove children from homes with mothers and fathers. Where Gallagher's case ultimately fails is that she cannot connect "Children on average do best with their own married biological parents" to "We should not allow same-sex couples to marry.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images

Most Recent Customer Reviews