SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. (RNS) It appears Seton Hall University will offer a controversial course on gay marriage over the objections of Newark Archbishop John J. Myers, according to the professor scheduled to teach the class.
The undergraduate seminar course ”called The Politics of Gay Marriage ”is to begin Tuesday (Aug. 31) with about two dozen students, said W. King Mott, an associate professor of political science.
The class is happening. I’ve never heard that it wasn’t, said Mott, who has sent the syllabus to the enrolled students.
Last spring, Myers said he was troubled the Catholic university was offering a class that seeks to promote as legitimate a train of thought that is contrary to what the church teaches. Myers, who serves as a member of the Seton Hall Board of Regents, called on the university to reconsider offering the class.
In June, a dozen members of the board of regents’ Mission and Identity Committee began meeting behind closed doors to evaluate the course and make a recommendation. The showdown between the university’s academic and religious sides drew national attention from gay rights, education and Catholic groups.
University spokesman Thomas White refused to confirm or deny the class will go on as scheduled.
However, the course appears in Seton Hall’s online schedule of classes and has been assigned a meeting time and a room. The website also lists several texts students are required to purchase for the class, including What’s Love Got To Do With It?: The Case for Same-Sex Marriage.
James Goodness, a spokesman for the Newark archbishop, said he had not heard of any final decision on the class. But Myers continues to believe the gay marriage course is not in sync with Catholic teaching, Goodness said.
The syllabus for the class says the course will focus on gay marriage as a contemporary political idea and may bring guest speakers to campus to share their personal stories.
This point of view does not dismiss those that hold a religious belief; all perspectives are welcome in this discussion, the syllabus says.
Mott, one of the few openly gay professors at Seton Hall, came up with the idea for the elective class for upperclassmen. He said students will explore the social and political issues surrounding the gay marriage debate without advocating for either side.
This is a considerable public policy question and there’s opposition, Mott said. But I would hope that at a university there would be understanding that there’s always going to be some opposition.