Tuesday, July 19, 2005

And Yet ANOTHER Perspective on Gay Marriage

Blog Ally Roaring Tiger of Big Cat Chronicles tipped me off to a blog entry concerning the issue of gay marriage by Larry Bernard of Inside Larry's Head, which I thought deserved a bit of additional commentary on my part.

While it isn't the easiest post to read -- and indeed, almost appears a marvel of free association -- I agree with most of what is expressed in it. However, it does seem necessary to add a little elaboration.

Cases in point:

I don’t believe in heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, or omnisexuality. I know they exist and I know people practice these sexual behaviors but I don’t believe they are some fundamental biological imperative. I believe sexual development is a process in your brain that develops for whatever reason your brain grows and becomes what it is.

I would respond that the biological imperative is that of attraction. There is a significant degree of hardwiring in the brain, in my opinion, that governs particular shapes, forms, appendages, etc. to which we are attracted sexually. However, how those attractions are modified and carried out, on the other hand, is much more a product of environment than it is of any inborn drive.

In short, there's a two-position switch -- "Same" or "Opposite". It's up to you to define what exactly that means.

Sexual matters in those ages were products of power, politics, and economics. Today they are emotional and products of being fully actualized in your desires. Marriage was born to fuel the power aspects of sex into organized societal ends. Marriage today is about personal happiness.


I want to present civil unions as my political libertarian nature tells me is the “right thing to do” but when I look at the past of the “gay rights movement” and look at what other civil rights movements I am left with a problem “they will use it to try and bully society into giving them shakedowns and the like ala Jesse Jackson.” See sexuality is about power. They sued groups and pressured groups who supported the boy scouts. And in today’s world they can do the same to church groups and any other civic group that dares to disagree. We simply aren’t able to come up with an evolved answer right now as a human family.

I can certainly see where he came up with that impression. While I disagree that most gays as a whole would do such a thing, the problem is twofold -- one, there are groups that most definitely WOULD within the gay movement (i.e., the anti-religionists), and two, the inadvertent issues that are created by people who have the best of intentions, but forget that gay rights have to fit within and be consistent with the societal fabric as a whole.

Towards the example of the second, I had an exchange yesterday with Blog Neutral Michael of GayOrbit over his condemnation of the archbishop of Quebec for pointing out that, under canon law, the Church could not baptize the progeny of a gay marriage. Michael has a good point (with which I agree) that what the Church is doing is wrong and bigotted; however, as I pointed out, we TOLD them that they, or any other religion, would not have to recognize gay couples, period. This ties to that, we should have thought of it in the first place, and lambasting the Church now over what we knew going in makes us look like we didn't really mean what we said.

Another example is the comments regarding the whole flap over gays in the military that I provoked below. As I said before, I support gays serving in the military, but I foresee real issues with housing, especially given current sexual harassment laws that forbid requiring employees to accept uncomfortable situations -- and the fact that these laws have been repeatedly shown to apply to the military. None of these commentors would advocate forcing a woman into an uncomfortable situation or telling her to deal with her hangups, citing her "right to privacy", but would actively support doing so with men.

Again, in both situations, our intentions are right and good. However, the fact is that we ARE asking for special treatment and we ARE asking for "shakedowns" with the laws in question as they stand today. In order to completely undo DADT, sexual harassment laws will have to change. In order to baptize the children of a same-sex couple, canon law towards gays will have to change.

In Europe, where such things are more likely to have happened, we see the decay in their birth rate, their family rate, and a far more cavalier attitude in much of Europe about sex. There the desire to present civil unions comes out of the sense that much of the civil rights laws do of “we are the bad majority so we have to pass laws to make ourselves feel more enlightened.” Instead of as the movement in the United States is packaging it (gay Main Street) the European model shows about the same amount of familial decay as the rest of their familial structures.

I would agree with part of this assessment. In the US, the concern is much more integration-oriented -- we select a single view and tend to stick with it -- while in Europe, the concern is much more that every viewpoint is represented equally. However, Europe's problem is not that civil unions are granted; it's that respecting every viewpoint gives voice and equality to ones that are WAY outside the mainstream, even if they are destructive to society as a whole. It's very difficult to condemn polygamy, for instance, if it is required that polygamists receive equal legal protections for their practices. It is this schizophrenia that creates the cracks through which decay percolates as society splinters.

Sex and loving commitment are two different things, maybe if we can discuss how loving committed relationships that build families and help people function better in society can be supported we might have a chance of developing something socially that might work… tab a and slot b won’t work when people will argue that a “trouser snake” doesn’t count if the person with it has “fun bags”.

Some relationships make the person in them better, and make both people a more productive unit of society. That should be where we build from… the gay marriage movement has shown it is no more a product of that philosophy then heterosexual marriages because both are sexually focused, and not relationship focused.

Absolutely. This is why I support the idea of covenant marriages, which focus primarily on that commitment, as the ultimate goal of marriage for gays AND straights, while allowing domestic partnerships with lesser benefits for those of both sexual orientations who are unable or unwilling to approach that level of commitment.

Talk amongst yourselves. :)

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