Last updated on: 11/7/2012 | Author:

Mark Osler, JD Biography

Professor of Law at the University of St. Thomas
Pro to the question "Should Gay Marriage Be Legal?"

“I am a Christian, and I am in favor of gay marriage. The reason I am for gay marriage is because of my faith.

What I see in the Bible’s accounts of Jesus and his followers is an insistence that we don’t have the moral authority to deny others the blessing of holy institutions like baptism, communion, and marriage. God, through the Holy Spirit, infuses those moments with life, and it is not ours to either give or deny to others…

It is not our place, it seems, to sort out who should be denied a bond with God and the Holy Spirit of the kind that we find through baptism, communion, and marriage. The water will flow where it will.

Intriguingly, this rule will apply whether we see homosexuality as a sin or not. The water is for all of us. We see the same thing at the Last Supper, as Jesus gives the bread and wine to all who are there—even to Peter, who Jesus said would deny him, and to Judas, who would betray him.

The question before us now is not whether homosexuality is a sin, but whether being gay should be a bar to baptism or communion or marriage.

The answer is in the Bible. Peter and Jesus offer a strikingly inclusive form of love and engagement. They hold out the symbols of Gods’ love to all. How arrogant that we think it is ours to parse out stingily!”

“My Take: The Christian Case for Gay Marriage,”, May 19, 2012

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Founder and Director, Federal Commutation Clinic at the University of St. Thomas (the first federal commutations clinic in the United States), Sep. 2011-present
  • Executive Director, Association of Religiously Affiliated Law Schools, 2011-present
  • Professor of Law, University of St. Thomas, Aug. 2010-present
  • Blogger, Osler’s Razor and The Religiously Affiliated Law Schools
  • Named Richard Byrd Preaching Chair, St. Martin’s-By-The-Lake Episcopal Church, MN, 2012
  • Recipient, St. Thomas Mission Award for Scholarly Engagement and Social Reform, 2011
  • Recipient, St. Thomas Faculty Partnership Grant, 2011
  • Quoted as an expert in more than 500 media sources, including the Washington Post, New York Times, International Herald-Tribune, Guardian, Dallas Morning News, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and Chicago Tribune
  • Member, US Supreme Court, State Bar of Michigan, Bar of the Western District of Texas, Bar of the US First Circuit Court of Appeals, Bar of the US Second Circuit Court of Appeals, Bar of the US Third Circuit Court of Appeals, Bar of the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, Bar of the US Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, and Bar of the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Professor of Law, Baylor University School of Law, 2000-2010 (tenured 2006)
  • Won US Supreme Court case Spears v. United States as lead counsel, 2009
  • Testified as a sentencing expert before the US House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, 2009
  • Portrayed as “Professor Joe Fisher” in the film American Violet, 2008
  • Quoted by Associate Justice John Paul Stevens in US Supreme Court case United States v. Booker, 2005
  • Testified as a sentencing expert before the US Sentencing Commission, 2004
  • JD, Yale Law School, 1990
  • BA, College of William and Mary, 1985
  • Panel Attorney, US District Court for the Western District of Texas, 2001-2003
  • Assistant US Attorney, US Department of Justice, Detroit, MI, 1995-2000
  • Associate, Dykema Gossett (law firm), Detroit, Michigan, 1991-1995
  • Clerk, US District Court Judge Jan E. DuBois, 1990-1991
  • Coached SMU (Southern Methodist University) Mock Trial Tournament champion, 2006
  • Coached NACDL (National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers) Mock Trial Team national champion, 2003
  • Yale Law School Sentencing Project, 2000 and 2001
  • Former Chairman, Baylor University Civil Rights Committee
  • Former member, Baylor Law School hiring, admissions and curriculum committees
  • Former Senior Editor, Yale Law Journal
  • Former Coker Fellow, Yale Law School
  • Lives in Edina, MN
Quoted in:
Pro & Con Quotes: Should Gay Marriage Be Legal?