Today on Blogcritics
Home » Gay Marriage and the Undoing of Straight Marriage

Gay Marriage and the Undoing of Straight Marriage

Please Share...Print this pageTweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

It will be interesting to see what the legalization of gay marriage does for divorce statistics. Given that many lining up to get married have already been together for years (some for decades), there's a chance the rate of divorce will drop significantly in the future.

Marriage between man and woman has long been a punchline in this country. The decision to love, the act of commitment, and the longevity and perseverance of caring for another have not been taken seriously by upwards of half of those who entered into the institution – and all of them have been straight.

This doesn’t tell me why gay marriage would be a bad thing. We’ll get to that later. This tells me why straight marriage is in trouble.

Many of us have been there: watching other couples who seem so happy when we are not – or once were, but are no longer. It rarely occurs to us that, sometimes, when we enter the house of those we see as hopelessly in love, the squeaking we hear is not coming from their charming screen door or their marital bed. It is coming from the rats in the walls.

When our own marriage is in trouble, catching sight of what we think is a happy couple provokes our envy. We remember what we lack and how painful it is. For some, seeing a happy homosexual couple provokes disgust. While envy and disgust are two very different responses, the origin of both feelings is the same: they are happy and we are not.

Regardless of where you stand on the issue of gay marriage, the energy you invest in that stand is energy you’re not investing in your spouse.

I know what it feels like to be in a marriage where friendship has waned, indifference has displaced love, insult has overridden affirmation, and loss has outweighed gain until all that’s left is a gaping wound. I also know the rebirth of love as a decision rather than a feeling one has little control over. I know the refocused effort and strength needed to keep us afloat when it seemed like no one else in the world cared whether the two of us stayed together or not.

I need the support and camaraderie of those who are willing to get up and fight for marriage as a value rather than some unattainable or elite ideal. I need the model and the company of those who know the struggle and who are strong enough in character to persevere despite all odds. I need those who take the vows of marriage as seriously as I do.

I feel sad when I hear others say their own marriages are under attack by gay marriage. It tells me how many heterosexual marriages are on the brink when something so external could threaten their internal decisions to love each other. Without meaning to, those who feel attacked reveal the thin and fragile weave of their own marriages. In turn, this reminds the rest of us just how fragile marriage is – and how much we need the support of others. Why, then, would we turn it away?

In the gay community there are many who have fought long and hard for the right to marry, and who have given of each other to each other despite not having the right to call that commitment by its rightful name. I’m reminded of the seriousness of my own commitment, and that marriage is something worth keeping out of the joke books.

I read in the paper about those who are investing large amounts of money in the effort to keep others from marrying. These same people are not putting any money, much less time or effort, into keeping troubled marriages from falling apart or helping good marriages get better.

Indeed, there are those who care about helping marriages on the edge, and there are those who care about making good marriages better. Tell me why your marriage is falling apart, and I’ll tell you why you got married in the first place. (She’s a control freak, but you used to love how organized she was. He’s indecisive, but you used to love how easygoing he was.) Tell me what makes your marriage great, and I’ll ask you to tell others how you did it.

Unfortunately, there are a significant number of people who mask the pain of their failing marriages by focusing outside themselves. It’s easier for them to feel attacked by others (or act on behalf of the institution of marriage) than to acknowledge the cracks of neglect in their own foundations. They mistake the teamwork of marching in unison against others as proof of the strength of their own marriage. They believe in this all the way home, until he retreats to his corner and she to hers. He still doesn’t know how lonely she is for him in the night, and she still doesn’t know why he feels emasculated when she expresses her frustration.

The truth of their opposition to gay marriage is enraging until it is sorrowful: “If homosexual marriage is not the reason for the pain in my marriage, then it must be me – and that is too heart-wrenching a reality to face.”

Many of those who oppose gay marriage do not consider that we, as a community, can and should actively support and save already existing marriages from what ails them, which isn't homosexual marriage. If only it were that easy. It’s much harder to admit to and do something about what really ails a marriage: indifference, lack of focus, infidelity, unwillingness to listen to the other without judgment, the ways in which we assault each other with insult and injury, and in many cases, substance abuse.

Mark Twain once said, “Why is it that we rejoice at a birth and grieve at a funeral? It is because we are not the person involved.” In the course of their outcry, the opposition has revealed how threatened and disheartened they feel by the prospect of someone else getting what they still don’t have: someone else’s commitment of love.

There is definitely a wolf out there tearing many a marriage asunder, but that wolf is not on the outside; it is within. It is in the heart of all heterosexual married people who would abandon their loved ones to "save the world from homosexual marriage," even as their spouses suffer from lack of attention and intimacy, and from their own decision to love their husband or wife rather than hate others.

This brings us to why gay marriage would be a bad thing, and it is the same reason straight marriage is already a bad thing for many: people are involved. Many people may not be prepared to deliver on their promises. Half the time, the right to marry has meant an eventual withdrawal of affection, violation of trust, financial despair, divorce, the destruction of children’s lives, and courts clogged up with the mire of already hapless communication gone horribly, horribly bad.

We shoot each other in the wedding ring finger when we do anything that compromises the amount of time and attention our marriages need. Going after others is not a valuable use of marital energy. Those who do so expose the weaknesses and widen the gaps in their own marriages without promise of repair.

In a world where so many are distraught with loss, mutilation, rage, and sorrow, a wee bit more love and commitment might do us all some good. We can only hope those in painful marriages get the help they need before the well of their love runs any drier.

Heterosexuality is no more the key to a good marriage than homosexuality is a lock against it. To take great liberty with a quote by Martin Luther King, Jr:

It is not your opposition to gay marriage your spouse will remember, but the way you neglected your own.

Powered by

About Diana Hartman

Diana is a USMC (ret.) spouse, mother of three and a Wichita, Kansas native. She is back in the United States after 10 years in Germany. She is a contributing author to Holiday Writes. She hates liver & motivational speakers. She loves science & naps.
  • http://jonsobel.com/ Jon Sobel

    Thanks for saying so well what I’ve thought for a long time. Anti-gay marriage crusaders make me angry. It angers me that my gay friends can’t get the benefits (and tribulations) that I can get. I’m convinced that once gay marriage in this country spreads around enough that it’s a fait accompli, everyone will look back on it the way we look back on the restaurant and bar and workplace smoking bans that people were all up in arms about when they happened. Who now would ever want to go back to smoke-choked offices and restaurants? Ten or twenty years from now, we’ll say, who were those weirdos who thought there was something wrong with gays getting married?

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com Michael J. West

    It’s so true. The only conceivable, only possible threat to a marriage is the two people within it. No “homewrecker” can do it, only spouses with a wandering eye. No finances can do it, only spouses who are unable to adjust their lifestyle and expectations to suit their means. And no gay marriage can to it–only spouses who use it as a scapegoat to keep from recognizing their own complicity in their marital problems.

  • Ruvy

    I read this article to my wife, Adina, and she could not see the reason that gay and straight marriages were being compared. Frankly, I couldn’t either.

    Diane, what you are really talking about is displacement of attention and energy from a spouse from his “beloved” to some outside issue to hide his change of attitude towards his “beloved”. Opposition to gay marriage is only one of many such displacements. One also sees the “golf” widow, the “fishing widow, the “computer” widow (to bring this all a bit closer to home), not to mention the “booze” widow, which are all equally displacements of attention and energy from one’s beloved, and all equally capable of destroying a weak marriage.

    Gay marriage, or the opposition to it, is really a red herring here.

    On the other hand, you write:

    I need the support and camaraderie of those who are willing to get up and fight for marriage as a value rather than some unattainable or elite ideal. I need the model and the company of those who know the struggle and who are strong enough in character to persevere despite all odds. I need those who take the vows of marriage as seriously as I do.

    Given that we are in a boat similar to yours, we can offer that camaraderie.

    Ruvy and Adina

  • http://bloggingontheedgeofsuicide.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Diana, an interesting angle you’ve brought up, that we gays may make the straights look bad because our divorce rate might be so much lower.

    There’s no way to not make this preducial, but I agree, when two gays decide to marry, it’s takes as so much more of a carefully considered committment, knowing that so many people are against you, and that your marriage is illegal (for now) in 48 states, and that in some southern states could even land you in jail.

    Just as a black man marrying a white woman 80 years ago in the south was legal, they could still earn them bricks through windows, burning crosses on the lawn and/or harrassment to the point of having to leave town.

    In today’s society, many would consider that last paragraph “bull”, but I watched my Grandfather and grandmother live through it. They were put in jail on their wedding day, and when they got out they moved to St. Clairsville OH, where my father could “pass” for white and go through highschool with no one knowing.

    That’s another irony, because 95 percent of gays can pass for straight, therefore many straights consider us an invisible threat to them, because they can’t detect their “bogeymen”. I saw George (Sulu) Takeai on CNN yesterday beaming like a new groom with his lover (soon to be husband) of twenty years at his side.

    Someday I hope to see today’s reaction to interracial marriage, applied to gays.

    A very good read and well written Diana….

    Jet

  • http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/39420/joanne_huspek.html Joanne Huspek

    When I hear of people being “threatened” by gay marriage, I have to wonder. Do they think if gay people are legally married, it will cause one or both partners to “turn” gay? I have to believe that the people who squawk the loudest are the married people who aren’t secure in their own hetero marriages.

  • http:// Baronius

    This is an ugly article, in a subtle way. I’d bet that the author doesn’t even realize it.

    It doesn’t defend gay marriage. It doesn’t address criticisms of gay marriage. All it does is smear those who oppose gay marriage. They must be projecting their own disappointment with their marriages onto others. But what about us single people who oppose gay marriage? Or widows? Or those in happy marriages? What about priests? Apparently, we’re all committed to bitter projection of all our failures onto gays who want to get married. Oddly specific, that projection. And apparently all the people who support gay marriage are perfectly happy.

    It seems more probable that the author of the article is projecting something.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/diana_hartman Diana Hartman

    here’s what i’m projecting: those who are opposed to gay marriage on the grounds that it somehow adversely affects straight marriage are using the gay marriage issue to hide problems in their own marriages…

    i wouldn’t presume to know why those priests, single people and widows who oppose gay marriage do so…

  • http:// Baronius

    You could ask. You might find out that they have sound reasons. Maybe even the married people who oppose gay marriage have sound reasons.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I haven’t heard one sound reason yet that wasn’t rooted in prejudice, a misread interpretation of “scripture,” or fear.

    Perhaps someone can provide a reason to object to homosexual marriage that is not based on one or all of those notions.

  • http://bloggingontheedgeofsuicide.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    I’ll give you one Jordan, when we split up we don’t have to deal with alimony and lawyers. That’s all different now.

  • Michelle

    Well, if we want to look at some actual statistics involving gay marriage and straight marriage, how about the divorce rates amongst straights in the places where gay marriages/civil unions are allowed?

    As of 2005, Massachusetts was the only state in the country to allow gay couples to wed, and Vermont was the only state that allowed Civil unions. Massachusetts had the LOWEST divorce rate in the country. Vermont had the second-lowest.

    Oh yeah, the gays are REALLY hurting straight marriage.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    “You might find out that they have sound reasons.”

    And yet you stopped by twice and offered none. Coincidence?

  • http:// Baronius

    Not coincidence. Just boredom. I’ve been in BC debates about gay marriage, and they don’t go anywhere. I only wanted to comment on Diana’s self-righteous quasi-psychological stereotyping.

  • http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1082190/posts Baronius

    El Bicho, if you’re interested, there’s a nice article by an economist at Free Republic (see link). It lays out a straightforward secular argument against gay marriage. I also made a conservative (non-religious) argument on the BC Politics thread for “A License to Marry?”.

    There are plenty of religious arguments to be made against gay marriage, but they require some asssumptions that I don’t know if we share.

  • Jordan Richardson

    The article lays out a secular argument against all kinds of marriages, actually.

    It assumes that marriages exist for the sole purpose of procreation and that relationships must exist to meet “state purposes” in order to gather basic human rights benefits. To go one step further, I’d argue that with obvious overcrowding at a global level, propagation should no longer be a “state interest.”

    The whole “state interest” nonsense just doesn’t wash, especially when the American government is barely (or just flat out aren’t) providing adequate child care or health care for children in families as it is. If the idea is to encourage procreation (which again is just a bad idea at this point), the government could be doing a whole lot more than just denying homosexuals the right to marry.

    Plus, the whole issue with the author of the article comes down to this ridiculous idea that homosexuals don’t need benefits.

    Although, I do have to applaud his balls for closing with the audacious pair of lines:

    When the purpose of marriage is procreation, the answer is obvious. If sexual love becomes the primary purpose, the restriction of marriage to couples loses its logical basis, leading to marital chaos.

    Ah, marital chaos…I wonder what that’s like?

  • Clavos

    By all means gays should marry.

    Why should they be happier than the rest of us?

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Clav, after upsetting you earlier, I must just say: that is so perfect I think I’m going to run out and have it printed up as a bumper sticker.

    I’ll credit you, of course…

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    By “nice” you must mean “poorly thought out.” I have little patience for elitist snobs like Adam who would exclude me from marrying my wife if he knew ahead of time that we weren’t planning on having children. He masks his idiocy by writing a lot and using big words, but he doesn’t say much of value.

    It’s too bad he wasn’t part of the plummeting birthrate as he doesn’t appear to be adding to the precious gene pool he is so worried about. He should stick to his studies in financial economics because he doesn’t know squat about science, philosophy or society.

  • http://bloggingontheedgeofsuicide.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    My younger brother’s name is Elvis (poor guy); come to think of it I haven’t seen him leave a building in a long tome…

  • http://bloggingontheedgeofsuicide.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    I think you’re right El, I’ve never heard of a prominant well educated scientist that was “born-again”

    …hmmmmmm

  • http://www.EurocriticsMagazine.com Christopher Rose

    The only honest reason for trying to ban gay marriage would be: “I’m an interfering busybody and want to make everybody live by my rules”…

  • Ruvy

    Chris,

    I realize that in Europe, anything goes (when are they going to legalize child sacrifice there? the satanists and the Scandos who believe in tossing crippled kids over a cliff are a discriminated minority!), but the issue that Diana was raising was married folk using the legalization of gay marriage as an excuse to hide from the deficiencies in their own marriages.

  • http://bloggingontheedgeofsuicide.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Ruvy, am i missing a joke, or did your sarcasm just go right over my head? You keep using preducial statements, lumping a people like “all Europeans” or “All us jews”, seemingly with wild abandon, yet when someone else does you rail against them.

    What gives?

  • http://www.EurocriticsMagazine.com Christopher Rose

    Ruvy, you actually realize very little as your mind is in the grip of an excessively persistent and blinding belief system.

    I wasn’t responding to Diana’s article but to certain remarks as to which interfering busybodies might want to ban gay marriage.

    Personally I’ve not heard of any suggestions to throw crippled kids off cliffs and seriously doubt that any but a few loons would ever take such an idea seriously. Presumably as you are so keen to protect children, you are opposed to their indiscriminate killing wherever it may happen?

    As marriage has legal consequences, it can only ever be a type of legal contract between the participating parties. As such, any attempt to restrict such an arrangement on the basis of gender would seem wrong.

    It is religion that is clouding the issue but, as always, religion and law make uncomfortable bed fellows.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I think you’re right El, I’ve never heard of a prominant well educated scientist that was “born-again”

    Francis Collins, current head of the Human Genome Project and well noted for his research in the field of genetic diseases is a “born again Christian.” I’m pretty sure he’s well-educated AND prominent.

    There’s a lot more examples, of course, but I’m going to take your point as a simplistic generalization and move along.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    Jet, I am not sure how you got that out of my comment

  • http://bloggingontheedgeofsuicide.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    El I was being playfully sarcastic. I’m going to have to start labeling my jokes again (groan)

  • http://bloggingontheedgeofsuicide.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Jordan, as people become more educated about everything, they consider ideas that are outside of their rhelm of “normalcy” less threatening to their little coccoon of reality. Therefore their less likely to be quick to prejudge something or someone.

    In the rhelm of higher educated people, you’ll find that it’s rare to have a fundamentalist born-again in a scientific field, unless they’re actually there as a sort of “double agent” trying to disprove scientific fact in faove or “intelligent” design.

  • Baronius

    Nonsense, Jet. Religious practice increases with education, according to every survey I’ve ever seen.

  • http://bloggingontheedgeofsuicide.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    I guess it depends on your source of information, and declaring it nonsense doesn’t make it so.

  • Baronius

    Gallup. And lack of sense makes it nonsense.

  • Ruvy

    Jet, my sarcasm went right over your head. It used to be the custom in Scandinavia to toss crippled or deformed kids over a fjord, just as it used to be a custom in Europe to take unwanted children to an old lady who would quietly kill them (this was the evil witch in so many “fairy tales” – a very real character in many countries in Europe); the story of Hansel and Gretel reflects the real starvation prevalent in Germany after the Thirty Years War, and how desperate parents would try to rid themselves of extra mouths to feed.

    I do hope you realize that “Ring Around the Rosie” is all about the Black Plague of the 1300’s. The awful history of Man is well remembered by innocents – in nursery rhymes.

  • Jordan Richardson

    In the rhelm of higher educated people, you’ll find that it’s rare to have a fundamentalist born-again in a scientific field, unless they’re actually there as a sort of “double agent” trying to disprove scientific fact in faove or “intelligent” design.

    Wrong, but convincing you of the stereotypical nature of this statement is a little like convincing opponents of gay marriage that their positions are, too, based around stereotyping, generalizations, prejudices, and fear.

    Honestly, Jet, you should know better.

  • Ruvy

    Rock a by baby
    On the treetop.
    When the wind blows
    The cradle will rock.

    When the bough breaks
    The cradle will fall.
    And down will come baby
    Cradle and all.

    Infanticide to fall asleep by, Jet.

    Got it? Somewhere there is a book, The Slaughter of the Innocents – a History of Infanticide I never forgot that book, though I cannot seem to find it anywhere.

  • Baronius

    Jordan, it’s good that you can recognize the fear and prejudice displayed by people on your side of the argument. Please take the next step, and see that I’m not constructing my argument based on fear and prejudice.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Well that’s a rather bold twisting of concepts, isn’t it?

    I categorized Jet’s notion that scientists who are “born again Christians” are somehow working a “double motive” and have some imaginary conflict of interest as being fear-based and stereotypical. I use the same categorization against those whose arguments against homosexual marriage are based around concepts of fear, paranoia, generalizations, etc. In short, I see no good reason to oppose same-sex marriage.

    Now if you feel your argument is cogent and isn’t based around the aforementioned concepts, I’m going to have to disagree with you as in #15.

  • Baronius

    At this point, I don’t care if you think I’m right. I’d settle for someone recognizing that I’m not being driven by bigotry or stupidity or projection from a failed marriage or something. As I said initially, the main thing that’s struck me about this article is the lack of respect for the other side.

    There’s no point in debating with someone whom you consider evil. Jet says that he’s on the receiving end of that attitude. A fair reading of this thread would show that his side is doing the stereotyping. In that regard, I’ve got to single out El Bicho for his declaration that the guy who wrote that Free Republic article shouldn’t have been born.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/diana_hartman Diana Hartman

    baronius, what is it about gay marriage you personally protest?

  • Jordan Richardson

    Baronius, your post is the equivalent of taking your ball and going home.

    I didn’t really ever approach whether I thought you were right or wrong, so I’m not sure where that part of your post came from. I would infer, from the construct of argument you used against homosexual marriage (if the Free Republic article is any indication of your opposition to homosexual marriage) that it is indeed based around fear and paranoia. The foundation of the argument in the article is based around that (among other things, ie. bad science, poor ethics, shoddy morals).

    So if you’re looking for someone to acknowledge that the foundation of your argument, right or wrong, against homosexual marriage is not based around those things, you need to present another argument.

    I would also suggest, rather boldly in fact, that there is no good reason to afford the other side respect in discussions of this nature until they construct an argument that is, in fact, respectful.

    The arguments in opposition to gay marriage are, at this point and time, offensive, inhumane, obnoxious, fearful, bigoted, ignorant, and arrogant. Now why should respect be afforded to arguments of that nature?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/diana_hartman Diana Hartman

    The foundation of the argument in the article is based around that (among other things, ie. bad science, poor ethics, shoddy morals).

    perhaps i missed the forest for the trees…what bad science, poor ethics and shoddy morals?

  • Jordan Richardson

    I would infer, from the construct of argument you used against homosexual marriage (if the Free Republic article is any indication of your opposition to homosexual marriage) that it is indeed based around fear and paranoia. The foundation of the argument in the article is based around that (among other things, ie. bad science, poor ethics, shoddy morals).

    Should have been more clear that I was referring to the article Baronius provided in #14.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/diana_hartman Diana Hartman

    ah, my bad…

  • Baronius

    - I don’t think that gay marriage is necessary. See that Free Republic article. Marriage is necessary to protect a fundamentally unbalanced relationship between a man and a woman. The dynamic of breadwinner/nurturer/children puts the breadwinner a lot better off financially if they part company. The nurturing parent in a gay couple doesn’t face the financial difficulties that (typically) the wife faces. There’s a reason for special legal protection for a heterosexual couple.

    – I don’t think we can afford to change the structure of the normative family. We’ve seen the weakening of the idea of family in a way that previous generations hadn’t. The single-parent family has been common since the first guy died in war or woman in childbirth, but there was always a shared idea of what was best.

    The institution of marriage has taken a lot of hits in the last half-century. I don’t think that individual gay marriages will destroy straight marriage, but the loss of the idea of marriage will do even more damage to a weakened institution.

    – I believe that gay marriage is immoral. I believe in God, I believe that Jesus established a church on earth, and that church says that homosexual activity is a sin. My church teaches that homosexuals have the same chance at heaven as anyone else, and that we’re all prone to sexual sin. If you want to know why I believe these things, that’s going to be a much longer post.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Baronius:

    1. Marriage is not necessary. They’re making tremendous advances in the social sciences these days and an artificial, legal documentation approving a relationship as a “marriage” is not a requirement to raising or aiding a healthy child.

    The nurturing parent in a gay couple doesn’t face the financial difficulties that (typically) the wife faces.

    Why not?

    2. “We” have already changed the fundamental structure of the family. Divorce rates are through the roof, two-parent families have to take multiple jobs to make up for rising economic costs, families cannot afford basic health care and thus have to cherrypick which ailment receives proper care, children are going to rundown schools and receiving poor education, rising economic needs are producing all sorts of poor conditions, corporate and material greed has impacted the culture of wants vs. needs in families, etc. The fundamental structure of the family has changed already in our society. Homosexual marriage cannot do any more harm to the structure of the family than any single one of those things I listed. The “shared idea of what works best” has evolved with time and new research, as it always does.

    3. It is the church, and only some mind you, that says homosexuality is a sin. Jesus Christ was silent on the issue, as a matter of fact, and each other appropriation regarding homosexuality in the New Testament likely refers to something much more significant than a mere sex act. Allow me to elaborate somewhat:

    First of all we have to realize that the Bible was written by authors intent on promoting their own spiritual and cultural views. The writers, of course, lived in what we could call a “pre-scientific age” to be rather crude, and all sorts of things like oppression, slavery, and inequality were, in fact, promoted by the Bible as it served to mirror its historical context rather than aim forward. The Biblical authors didn’t know they were going to be writing the Bible, in other words. Paul had no idea that his letters to the church in Corinth was, one day, going to be bound in leather and plunked in hotel rooms. He was addressing the church in Corinth, not necessarily dictating a global solution.

    Second, taking that context into account is important in that the Biblical authors had no way of knowing of the science we now have behind homosexuality. Much like slavery, church positions have evolved with new knowledge. It is, in fact, what God calls people to do. When the Bible disagrees with science, we must take the newly revealed stuff of fact and evidence as PRIMARY, lest we deny God’s revelation to us.

    Third, let’s look at some specific Biblical passages. Romans 1:26-27 is one that is often used. It refers to, of course, men “burning with lust for one another.” This passage has, many times, been interpreted by leading theologians as being Paul’s indictment against Temple practices by the Greeks. The Greeks often included sexual practices in their Temple worship and, as such, Paul criticized the act in the context of worship. Others suggest that there are clear clues that Paul thinks that certain kinds of homosexual behaviour are simply part of life in the pagan world. This interpretation creates, in Paul, a sense of association with homosexuality and paganism. We now know that such an association is pretty far off (most of us know this, anyway). It should be noted, in using the passage mentioned from Romans, that Romans 2:1 carries much more significant weight when Paul says via Williams’ interpretation: “At whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself.”

    Other Biblical passages have similar contextual backgrounds and, as such, should not simply be removed from their historical placements to make modern points when, indeed, our knowledge and situations intensely differ.

    Like you, Baronius, I could elaborate on these points if need be.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    “In that regard, I’ve got to single out El Bicho for his declaration that the guy who wrote that Free Republic article shouldn’t have been born.”

    Boo hoo. Considering he doesn’t think my wife and I should be allowed to be married because we don’t plan on having children, he’s lucky that’s all I said about him.

    “that church says that homosexual activity is a sin.”

    That part of the Bible also talks about not cutting off your hair, and women sacrificing doves after their periods ends. Do you follow all the rules or just some?

  • Baronius

    Bicho and Jordan – I’m a Catholic. I’m not basing my morality on a literal reading of the Bible, but upon the teachings of my church (which have been consistent for twenty centuries and are consistent with Scripture).

    Jordan, I think you misunderstood my point two. You argue two opposite ideas: one, that marriage is reeling from all the hits it has taken; two, that marriage evolves. The best defense you have is that gay marriage won’t do as much harm as the other changes in marriage. Maybe we should be looking at restoring the institution instead of hitting it less hard.

    The latest social research matches what social research has always found, that kids are better off with a mother and father whenever possible. Males and females bring different things to a family. A single-parent family can produce good kids, and a gay couple can nurture good kids, but we should keep the image of a mom and dad as the gold standard.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Catholic traditions, if argued as consistent with Scripture, are therefore fair game in terms of a Biblical assessment. For you to discard any exegetical reasoning is simply personally irresponsible. You seem to simply defer any theological questions to your Boss. In my view, that’s reckless.

    If the Pope decreed slavery, would you merely go along with it given what you know now? This is an important question, so I’d really like an answer.

    You argue two opposite ideas: one, that marriage is reeling from all the hits it has taken; two, that marriage evolves.

    These points are not opposite; they are complementary. Marriage has changed was the original point I made, not whether it has taken “hits.” As such, marriage has survived through its natural evolution as humans (married persons or not) naturally change due to circumstances. Your inference here was that we can’t afford to “change the structure” of the family. My response was that we already have and we have been doing so since the structure was imagined in the first place. The current family dynamic is our best guess at how things “ought” to work, although that guess is based on things like tradition and evidence. When the evidence changes, the tradition ought to as well.

    I actually have no mind to restore the institution of marriage. I have no interest in that at all. I have an interest in giving equal rights to people. It doesn’t matter what those rights ought to be for (ie. for raisin’ chillens), either. It matters that they exist and it matters that one group of society is not getting them.

    The latest social research matches what social research has always found, that kids are better off with a mother and father whenever possible.

    It helps your case to be specific: social research shows that kids are “better off” with a male and female presence, although this research is also changing with the passage of time and the introduction of various new family dynamics. The research also shows that kids are “better off” with a community of loving and positive individuals and that by fostering a sense of love and “being wanted,” children grow up with higher self-esteem. There is nothing in there about homosexual parents.

    Last, I want to highlight something you said because I think it’s interesting. I’m just going to let your comment stand on its own and others can investigate it. I think it highlights your insistence on holding on to a tradition (an image, if you will) as opposed to evolving with new information, evidence, and broader theological understanding…

    the image of a mom and dad as the gold standard

  • Baronius

    Jordan – I was hoping to avoid an argument about biblical exegesis. You and I are probably going to disagree about our interpretation of the text. Clearly Paul wasn’t talking about ritual homosexuality which would be a practice of love for another man; he talks about burning for another man, which is homosexual passion. But you can argue that each of the half dozen texts that have always been interpreted as opposing homosexuality mean something else, if you want to. From my standpoint, the fact that the OT and NT say the same thing indicates that the teaching is more than just a ritual law equivalent to sacrificing doves.

    I realize that taking a stand on Catholic doctrine may seem like I’m begging the question, and I’m sorry about that. But I don’t feel it would be fair to argue the evangelical way, text versus text, when that’s not how I believe. The Catholic position is not one that I came to easily, and it’s not simply a matter of bowing to Rome every time I face a question. I’ve come to believe that the church and the Bible are inextricably linked, or as Chesterton put it, the Bible is a question and the church is the answer. They testify to the truth of each other.

    “If the Pope decreed slavery, would you merely go along with it given what you know now? This is an important question, so I’d really like an answer.”

    I don’t believe that the Pope could make a statement like that. I don’t believe that he could proclaim error on a matter of faith or morals. That’s a weird concept to an outsider. Until such time as it’s proven wrong, I’ll believe it.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Brother Baronius, to your first point:

    To suggest that the texts regarding homosexuality have always been interpreted a certain way is just not accurate. That’s like suggesting that dispensationalism was not developed in the 1800s but was rather a commonly-held doctrine or the the Trinity doctrine wasn’t first considered a heresy before it passed into the mainline bloodstream. It’s preposterous.

    The Biblical authors assumed that their audience knew what they meant, whereas it’s pretty irrational to assume that the same context always applies. The argument of Biblical inerrancy is flawed because of this irreversible illogical sense of reading scripture and this consistent ignorance of context.

    It is not clear that Paul was talking about homosexuality in general because he frames it in a very precise context which almost damns the discussion of clarity in passages like this. That clarity, which is tremendously present and specific in the Old Testament passages referencing homosexuality, is lacking in the New Testament passages referencing the same thing (Romans 1, 1 Corinthians 6:9, 1 Timothy 1). EACH passage in the NT regarding homosexuality is disputed by the majority of Biblical scholars.

    Some common objections include:

    The idea behind the disparity in translation in different Biblical versions involving 1 Corinthians 6:9 (the American Standard Version says “effeminate abusers of men,” other versions say “male prostitutes” specifically, other versions say “homosexuals” directly, etc.) which uses a Greek word arsenokoitai which appears to have actually been created by Paul. When the KJV of the Bible came across the word, they translated it directly as “nor abusers of themselves with mankind.” If Paul had wanted to convey the term “homosexual,” he would have likely used the Greek word paiderasste. So it does seem that Paul almost went out of his way to NOT be clear (surprise surprise!). Paul, who knew his audience, would have used the commonly understood term to convey his distaste for homosexuals if that had been what he had been driving at, in other words. The fact that he uses an obscure and almost invented term gives pause among the most conservative scholars.

    Paul was also likely talking about a common practice in Roman culture: that of male prostitutes in the temple. The male prostitutes often took on female customers as a common part of temple worship. This is a historical fact and not simply a presumption. Paul would have naturally been displeased at this, especially having gone to the temple to spread Christianity and not idolatry or this type of “worship” and would be justifiably angry with the Romans for continuing to hold on to their pagan practices.

    Those are two mainstream objections and I’d continue with it, but I fear I’ve bored most of the people bothering with this half to death.

    Point is that there are countless ways that the texts referring to homosexuality in the NT could be read and many of them, effectively framed in the historical context of the time with the INTENTIONS and AUDIENCES of the authors in mind, don’t concretely provide a foundation to opposing homosexuality.

    I think I’ll save the spiel on papal authority for another time and another place.

  • http://bloggingontheedgeofsuicide.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Now that I’ve stood back and silently watched the fur fly here, I feel a need to advance an explanation, probably because there a lot of folks here that I respect, but I’m convinced will never understand where I’m coming from.

    Unless you’ve actually lived through the followng, you have no hope of understanding, and will probably just brush it off as nonsense.

    I grew up in a time which in many cases still exists. At any given moment in high school I was unexpectantly grabbed by the local jocks yelling faggot at the top of their voices, all the while laughing as they beat the living hell out of me.

    Afterward, bruised and battered, I’d be dumped head first into the nearest trash barrel, listening to their threats concerning what would happen the next time they found me as they left. I solved the problem by building up my body, and learning how to fight, which headed off the problem, unless I was grossly outnumbered.

    Then Anita Bryant and Jerry Falwell and his “moral majority” suddenly made us all feel like Jews in Nazi Germany. So convincing were they, that any straight friend I had, was in serious danger of being branded a fag too by “guilt through association”, so suddenly I was left friendless. The fundamentalist-born agains had the whole country convinced that unless the entire gay community was “converted” or jailed AIDS would go out of control and would kill every christian mother’s child.

    Suddenly people that I thought of as friends overnight seemed to think I was a pedophile anxious to rape any little boy I could find in order to “Recruit and Convert” them into propogating the next generation of homoSEXuals, like we were vampires in the cause of Faggothood.

    As more and more influencial people like Ronald Reagan blamed AIDS on us, and ever increasing fingerpointers singled us out as being hated by God, I began to cringe every time the name of GOD was mentioned to the point of losing nearly all of my Christian faith. Suddenly every time the kindest gentlest person offered any friendship and made the mistake of mentioning their religion, I automatically put up my defenses.

    During that time, friends that I had for years suddenly wanted nothing to do with me. It hurt so bad I actually had to “come out of the closet” up front, rather than watch them suddenly want nothing more to do with me when they found out. As for not telling enyone, as you relax with friends and feel you can talk about anything, it eventually will converstionally slip, which meant instant rejection, so they had to know up front, rather that go through that repeatedly.

    You see, I don’t have a limp wrist or speak with a lisp, so most don’t know unless I tell them, and now if I don’t tell them in advance, I lose a friendship and trust that took weeks to build.

    I began to just assume that people who were prejudiced against me were ignorant for not getting to know me, rather than just assume the shit Falwell and Bryant and lately Phelps were feeding them on a constant basis. In many ways I was being just as ignorant as they were out of repeated necessity

    That’s why I’m convinced that hatred towards us is only held by the ignorant, because anyone with a brain would get to know me first before condemning me to hell and eternal damnation.

    I still feel that way, it’s been pounded and beaten into me to always have my defenses up.

    Unless you’ve lived it, you have absolutely no hope of understanding me. Only a few actually try, which tends to make for a lonesome life…

  • http://bloggingontheedgeofsuicide.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Baronius-regarding your views of the Pope and Catholics in general, a good example from my latest article…

    Consider this. At the time that the honored King James Version was translated and compiled to book form, a mere four hundred years or so ago in 1611, the all-knowing and most holy church considered it a “fact” that the sun and all of the stars and planets rotated around the Earth in a sort of Tychonic system. The almighty and even more all-knowing holy father in Rome was so convinced of this, that just four years after King James released his “version,” poor Galileo (1564-1642) with all of his ingenuity and intellect was nearly condemned and entombed in 1616 for heresy by the learned and sacred Pope for merely suggesting that the Earth wasn’t God’s intended center of the universe – a “fact” backed up by a religion that only after more than three hundred and fifty years of careful consideration, has finally and just recently admitted that it was wrong about the long-dead astronomer.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Unless you’ve lived it, you have absolutely no hope of understanding me. Only a few actually try, which tends to make for a lonesome life…

    No offense, but what precisely is your point?

  • http://bloggingontheedgeofsuicide.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    If you have to ask, I’ve failed and was foolish for even trying… forgive me

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    “but upon the teachings of my church (which have been consistent for twenty centuries and are consistent with Scripture).”

    Is this the same Catholic Church that used to tell people they were going to Hell if they ate meat on Friday?

    The same Catholic Church that “prohibited the advocacy of heliocentrism as potentially factual, because that theory had no decisive proof and was contrary to the literal meaning of Scripture.”

    No offense, but it sounds like you don’t know much about the history of your church if you think the teachings have remained consistent since the birth of Christ. They’ve been wrong before and they are wrong on this issue, so I don ‘t see why the rest of us should trust them now.

  • http://bloggingontheedgeofsuicide.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Amen

  • http://bloggingontheedgeofsuicide.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Re: 52 Jordon if you make good friends with someone you’re doing business with or at the gym, and then their family, to the point of being invited to dinner or movies with their kids or are intorducted to his friends, and then he figures out that you’re gay and tells you that up to that moment he realy liked me as a friend, but his wife want no part of me for fear I may pervert him or currupt her kids…

    you tend to not be able to figure out who should or shouldn’t be your friends. After a while you give up trying… as I have.

  • http://bloggingontheedgeofsuicide.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    I’m still having eye trouble that’s introduced

  • http://bloggingontheedgeofsuicide.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    I thought #50 was pretty self-explanitory, but I do congratulate you in wading through the whole thing…

  • Jordan Richardson

    Jet, I interpreted what you were saying in #50 and have read through your blog. I know the substance of what you’re saying. I want to know what your point is, ie. how it relates to Baronius’ objections or to the current discussion as a whole.

    I’m honestly not trying to be a dick. I’m trying to understand the connection.

    Thanks.

  • http://bloggingontheedgeofsuicide.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Jorden I was responding to your and a few other’s statements…

    Wrong, but convincing you of the stereotypical nature of this statement is a little like convincing opponents of gay marriage that their positions are, too, based around stereotyping, generalizations, prejudices, and fear.

    Honestly, Jet, you should know better.

    Trying to make you understand where I was coming from in terms of my having to deal with “born again” intellectuals… and apparently failed.

  • Jordan Richardson

    But my point was essentially for you to understand that your experiences are certainly not universal experiences. To infer that born-again intellectuals are all like those you’ve experienced in your walk of, however tragic and injurious it may be, is simply playing the same cards so often played against you.

    Not fair, not ethical. Suggesting that “born again scientists” all somehow have a double agenda is simply not factual and, in fact, is quite ugly in its prejudice. Because you yourself have been a victim of such prejudice, I would have assumed you would have known better.

  • http://bloggingontheedgeofsuicide.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Apparently you missed the underlined line in $50 that reads…

    In many ways I was being just as ignorant as they were out of repeated necessity

  • Jordan Richardson

    Mhm, but I certainly didn’t read #50 before I posted #33.

  • http://bloggingontheedgeofsuicide.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    I took an art course once with 20-30 other students, in which the teacher read a passage from a book that described the outside of a house, and we were all assigned to sketch it, based on what we’d heard…

    Thirty students, thirty different houses.

    Everyone interprets what they read using different means to get where their understanding eventually ends up.

    My curse is that many people here interepret what I’m trying to say differently than how I meant it, just as I do theirs without being able to hear the inflection in their voices.

  • Baronius

    Again, I tend not to be as concerned with how a particular scholar translated a Greek word into English, but how the historic Church has consistently taught. The Church has always taught that sexual activity outside marrige is wrong. The church formalized the marriage ceremony into a sacrament over time, but always recognized the specific one man/one woman form. That’s factual. There’s no need for theory about how a particular biblical interpretation could have developed, because we know how specific teachings did develop.

    As for Galileo, he observed that the planets rotated around the sun, and wrote that science proved the planets rotated around the sun. He was rebuked for his statement, because it depicted science as a higher authority than religion. He also ticked off a lot of people, who then wrote up a fake document in which “Galileo” directly denied the authority of the church. On the basis of that document, he was tried, found guilty, and fired from his church position (but got full pension). The pope has apologized for the handling of the trial.

    Catholics are obligated to follow the rules of the Church. Something like a dietary requirement isn’t doctrinal, but it’s a matter of obedience. An accidental burger never sent anyone to Hell, but the direct flouting of any organization’s rules brings condemnation from the organization.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Baronius,

    You seem to be more interested in dogma than a fluid and progressive faith. What’s interesting to me here is that this is the exact type of religion Christ came to rebel against during his brief ministry. The canonical gospels and the other gospels (Q and whatnot) are filled to the brim with Christ’s admonitions toward clinging to dogmatic “law” when human kindness, compassion, and love supersede it. Your contention of simply, and apparently blindly, following the Church shows me that your trust is more in mankind and its archaic and rotting inventions than it is in any moving and fluid faith.

    Mankind can be wrong. Any time a human being suggests that they are an authority figure for God or that they “hear God’s voice,” we have a responsibility to scrutinize that individual with our knowledge and what we know. Christ never advocated a blind faith, nor did he advocate blind submission to authorities or to himself.

    So when you dismiss the original meanings of the texts and dismiss any discussion of those meanings, you really are saying that you’ve mentally supplanted church-orchestrated dogma in place of actual historical context, original intention, and God’s fluid and moving presence. This is exactly what disturbs me about modern faith: the idea that dogmatic ideas constructed by men with prejudices and fears should be construed as God’s Word and God’s Will.

    There’s no need for theory about how a particular biblical interpretation could have developed, because we know how specific teachings did develop.

    This is a ridiculous statement. Specific teachings, if they are to develop based on the Bible (which you hold as linked to the Church), should most certainly utilize a Biblical and sound exegetical foundation for creating its modern standards. Biblical interpretations need to be taken into account with modern knowledge (there were things Biblical authors couldn’t have known about, etc.) in order to come up with a Church law that is coherent with our modern times and that maintains Christ’s words along with early Christian intentions for a Church. The Church should never simply supplant morality for its own will, although it does this consistently. The idea that you follow the Church when it does this is tough to grasp, as you grant amazing amounts of Holy Authority to mere men.

  • Baronius

    Jet – I don’t condemn you to hell, and I don’t hate you. I hope you’ve figured that out by now. I respect that you’re trying to get over your anger toward those who’ve discriminated against you.

    I think you’re wrong: not for being gay, but for acting on sexual impulses outside of heterosexual marriage. (A lot of people are wrong on that score, myself included.)

  • Baronius

    Jordan – Jesus appointed church leaders. Chief among them was Simon, whose name he changed to Peter (calling him the rock upon which he builds his church). Peter was told to feed Jesus’ sheep, and whoever’s sins he holds bound are held bound in Heaven. Peter is listed first among the Apostles (every time), he’s the first to speak, the one who chooses a method for replacing Judas. He’s the first one to testify to Jesus’ divinity, and the first to enter the tomb.

    He was also a jerk.

    But when he spoke with authority, the church listened. Even when Paul had a disagreement with the church in Jerusalem, and Peter was on the wrong side, he was guided to the right side, and when he spoke on the issue, the issue was closed.

    The Apostles predate their writings, the Church predates the Bible, and indeed the Church compiled the holy books into the Bible. The Bible testifies to the unique nature of Jesus’ church, and the Church to the unique nature of the Bible. I take those words very seriously.

    After Peter’s death, Linus was chosen to replace him. Cletus followed him, then 262 others, then Benedict XVI. Their church has consistently taught the same faith, grounded in the Bible and the Tradition of the church. Not the “traditions of man”, but the respect due to a 2000-year, billion-person bible study. Thus I don’t “develop” doctrine from scratch. I look at what the most learned and prayerful people have said about a bible passage, and study and pray about the passage myself.

    When I talk about the development of doctrine, I’m describing a process that began before I sit down with my bible and concordance. You use the word develop in the present tense; for me it’s more of a past-present imperfect.

    The thing is, if it were turning out bat-crazy results, I’d stop. But on every issue that I’ve really dug into, I find the Catholic Church has the most reasonable answer. So I find theory matches practice, and Bible matches Church, and I’m pretty comfortable about that.

  • Italiana

    Thank you for a wonderful article. It’s so on the money for many reasons, not the least of which are the arguments that follow in the comments section. How quickly people revert to changing the subject to other’s supposed behaviors. If I’m okay in my relationship, who cares what my neighbor is doing?

    The answer is of course, deeper than that. When folks who are heterosexually defined are defensive about gay marriage or gay people in general, they’re really scared about the power of their own sexuality. All the intellectual and religous arguments in the world won’t change this simple fact. Committed relationships, straight OR gay, are really challenging, but do add to societal stability. That’s why supporting stable gay relationships via marriage is actually a conservative view.

    We’re entering a brave new world of sexual democracy here, and it’s scary. Peter Tatchell says it best — this is long, but worth reading (try not to hyperventilate, Baronius):

    “If homosexual activity persists on as large a scale as it does, in the face of very considerable public sentiment against it, and in spite of the severity of the penalties that our Anglo-American culture has placed upon it through the centuries, there appears some reason for believing that such activity would appear in the histories of a much larger proportion of the population if there were no restraints”.

    These words, written nearly half a century ago by Dr Alfred Kinsey in Sexual Behaviour In The Human Male (1948), encapsulate a profound insight that even most gay activists refuse to grasp and dare not publicly express: with less homophobia there’d be more homosexuality. By removing the social pressure to repress same-sex attraction, queer desire would grow and spread.

    It is precisely for this reason that homophobes oppose the glamorization of homosexuality and resist attempts to end the repression of gay people. They fear the increase in homosexual behaviour that would follow from a more sexually enlightened culture.

    In this sense, contrary to what most gay rights campaigners claim, homophobia is not irrational. It’s very logical. Homosexuality is tempting, which is why it has to be ridiculed, condemned and victimized. If queer sex was really unnatural and revolting, it wouldn’t be denigrated and suppressed by the combined forces of parliament, police, press, pulpit and prison. There’d be no need for heterosexuals to trumpet their supposed normality and superiority, no necessity for them to proselytise on behalf of their straight way of life, and no reason for abrogating to themselves the exclusive legal right to marriage and the financial incentives that go with matrimony.

    The huge resources invested by society in the promotion of heterosexuality infer that it is a rather dire, unattractive option that can only be sustained by endowing straightness with privileges and by handicapping the homosexual alternative with a millstone of disparagement and disadvantage. Indeed, the institutionalised social discrimination and public hysteria against homosexuality is a tacit acknowledgement of the pervasive appeal of queerness and the precarious nature of exclusive heterosexuality.

    The idea that many more people might be gay-inclined in a gay-positive culture, which is basically what Dr Kinsey was arguing nearly 50 years ago, is now under challenge by the proponents of theories which posit that homosexuality is biologically predetermined by the existence of ‘gay genes’ and ‘gay brains’. These theories cannot, of course, explain bisexuality or the experience of people who, suddenly in mid-life, switch from heterosexual to homosexual relationships (or vice versa).

    While there might be biological predispositions – such as genes, hormones and brain structures – which influence sexual orientation, most evidence suggests that cultural values and peer pressure are the prime determinants.

    The possibility that everyone is born with the potential to experience both same-sex and opposite-sex attraction is borne out by the anthropologists Clelland Ford and Frank Beach in their pioneering study, Patterns Of Sexual Behaviour (1965). They examined dozens of tribal-based societies all over the world, including many where homosexual relations were common and accepted. In some, all young men went through a period of homosexuality as part of their rite of passage to manhood, and then later switched to heterosexuality and got married.

    Ford and Beach concluded that human sexuality was predisposed to bisexuality and that a person’s subsequent sexual orientation was largely the product of social learning and expectation: “Men and women who are totally lacking in any conscious homosexual leanings are as much a product of cultural conditioning as are the exclusive homosexuals who find heterosexual relations distasteful and unsatisfying. Both extremes represent movement away from the original, intermediate condition which includes the capacity for both forms of sexual expression”.

    These insights suggest that if society ended its favouritism towards straightness and its chastisement of gayness, same-sex desire would, since it is an intrinsic human potentiality, be much more widespread. This doesn’t necessarily mean that a higher proportion of the population would be lesbian and gay. More likely, bisexuality would become the norm, and the prevalence of both exclusive heterosexuality and exclusive homosexuality would diminish.

    A major consequence of defeating homophobia and winning gay acceptance is that the social differentiation between hetero and homo will no longer be important. Since one form of sexuality will not be deemed superior to the other, there will be no need to sustain separate, polarised sexual identities.

    The labels hetero and homo will lose their relevance. No one will care who’s gay and who’s straight. This will create a whole new ball-game for the gay rights movement. There will be no need to assert gay identity because homosexuality will no longer be victimised and will therefore not have to be defended.

    Gay identity has had (and at the moment still has) great value as a defence against compulsory heterosexuality. It is, however, a historically-transient, culturally-specific phenomenon which arises in response to the needs of a persecuted queer minority in homophobic societies. Once straight privilege disappears, the necessity to affirm gayness declines rapidly.

    This questioning of the assumed mutually exclusive, unchanging nature of ‘majority’ heterosexuality and ‘minority’ homosexuality has a subversive flip-side: if everyone is born with the potential to be gay, then everyone equally comes into this world with the potential to be straight. That is the rubicon queers (and straights) have yet to cross. So many gay people love to say that inside every straight there is a queer bursting to come out. Few are prepared to admit that inside every homosexual there might be an element of repressed straightness. To concede this does not devalue same-sex attraction or collude with homophobia. It simply acknowledges the liberating truth that an individual’s sexuality can potentially embody both same and opposite sex attractions.

    The possibility of one day transcending the chasm between heterosexuality and homosexuality is not as fanciful as some imagine. It is, after all, a chasm created largely by homophobia. Once homophobia is defeated, the gulf between the two sexualities will narrow dramatically.
    All that will remain are the physiological differences in the sexual acts, and even those are similar.

    Whether hetero or homo, the process of sexual arousal and orgasm is essentially the same. William Masters and Virginia Johnson highlighted this coincidence in their pioneering study, Homosexuality In Perspective (1979). Fourteen years of clinical research led them to observe that at the level of psycho-sexual functioning “homosexuality and heterosexuality have far more similarities than differences…The physical capacities of erection and lubrication and the inherent facility for orgasmic attainment…function in identical ways, whether we are interacting heterosexually or homosexually. When a man or woman is orgasmic, he or she is responding to sexual stimuli in the same basic physiological response patterns…regardless of whether the sexual partner is of the same or the opposite gender”.

    Whatever the precise cultural metamorphosis of sexuality in years to come, it is totally implausible that the contemporary configurations of homosexuality and heterosexuality will always remain the way they are now. The incidence and forms of sexual identity and behaviour are bound to change in the future, as they have changed in the past (homosexuality in modern-day Britain is vastly different from homosexuality in Tudor England, Ancient Greece and Imperial China).

    What will transform human sexual relations more radically than anything else is the process of winning lesbian, gay and bisexual freedom.
    The present system of homophobia creates an antagonism between queer and straight. Overturning homophobia therefore creates the conditions for transcending this conflict. It ends the need for heterosexual oppressors and homosexual victims, and subverts the whole rationale for the cultural division between straight and gay, whereby one sexual orientation is valued and prioritised over another.

    The more we succeed in asserting our human rights as homosexuals, the sooner the differences between heteros and queers lose their significance. With no social relevance, the differences between gays and straights no longer have to be policed. Sexual boundaries become fuzzier. The need, and desire, to label behaviour and people disappears. The end result of this erosion of sexual difference is the demise of distinct, exclusive and antagonistic identities.

    Bravo!

    We queers are, it seems, destined to be the agents of our own salvation, and our own supersession. By the act of gay emancipation, we sow the seeds of the destruction of gay identity (and its straight counterpart). This, then, is the great paradox: queer liberation eradicates queers. But in the process, a new pluralistic sexual democracy, transcending the orthodoxy of gay and straight, at last becomes possible.

  • http://jetspolitics.blogspot.com/ Jet

    Italiana; wouldn’t it have been simpler to have just written your sermon… uh article on a separate piece of paper?

  • Mitch

    For me gay wedding is fine and there is nothing wrong with that. As long is the love is pure and true.

%d bloggers like this: