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Media Advisory

Office of News and Information
Johns Hopkins University
901 South Bond Street, Suite 540
Baltimore, Maryland 21231
Phone: 443-287-9960 | Fax: 443-287-9898

February 26, 2004
To: Reporters, editors, producers
Fr: Amy Cowles | 443-287-9960 | amycowles@jhu.edu
Re: Johns Hopkins sociologist available for comment on gay marriage

President Bush recently announced plans to support a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Supporters of such an amendment argue that a ban on gay marriages would preserve the sanctity of the institution and its impact on society. But Johns Hopkins University sociologist and expert on family issues Andrew Cherlin (pictured at right) says that with or without an amendment, marriage isn't what it used to be.

"It's not 'activist judges' who have redefined marriage," Cherlin says. "It's heterosexual America, which has changed the meaning of marriage from a focus on children to a focus on intimacy."

"The Massachusetts Supreme Court recognized this change," Cherlin said, "when it wrote, 'Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family.' The vast majority of Americans would agree with that statement even though many would disagree with the court's implication: There is no longer a compelling reason why one's spouse needs to be of the opposite sex."

To speak with Cherlin, contact Amy Cowles at 443-287-9960.

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