Homosexuality is the erotic response to, and the sexual desire of members of one's own sex. It isn't just sexual contact with one's own sex, because that could also be due to limited sexual opportunities or even ritualistic cultural practices, as in the case of the New Guinean Sambian people. Their male youths engage exclusively in homosexual practices with older males because it is believed that they must "drink men's milk to achieve the fierce manhood of the head hunter" (qtd. Rathus pg. 291). Once they reach marrying age though, their behavior turns heterosexual.
Homosexuality was considered a mental disorder, and listed as such in psychology journals, until it was removed in 1973. To this day, it is still theorized as to what exactly makes one homosexual. To this day, there are those who still believe that homosexuality is not only a mental disorder, but a tool of a being called Satan. Barbara Blewster, a member of the Church of Latter-Day Saints and the Arizona State Legislature was quoted as saying, "The perversion that follows homosexuality is bestiality and then human sacrifice and cannibalism." This is where ethical dilemmas of homosexuality arise. The ethical dilemma ranges from the above mentioned attitude that homosexuality is a sin and an abomination, to the attitude of others who feel that those who hate and discriminate based on "how someone is born" is unethical. This brings us to the question of homosexual marriage. Should homosexuals be granted the sanction of holy matrimony as heterosexual couples are, or should it not be allowed because homosexuality is not holy?
Natural moral laws have not been proven that they exist. Religious laws have little effect on those not of that religion. There are some Christians who condone homosexual behavior, or are homosexual themselves, feel that Jesus' commandment to love one another is more important than "minor references to sexuality between members of the same sex" (qtd. Thiroux pg. 353). An example of differing moral views based on the religious law of the same religion is the argument that heterosexual marriage the basis of Christian life. A representative of the National Clergy Council, a sensitive young Christian minister, speaking out on the News Hour with Jim Lehrer, warning that, "should homosexuals be allowed to celebrate their unions in state-recognized marriage, a massive breakdown of "values" would ensue" (qtd. Baldwin). The Christian liberal would argue that Christian morality is not founded in marriage at all, but in being Christ like, as the Apostle Paul out in1 Corinthians 11:1. Jesus had nothing in common with an average, married Christian. Jesus did not encourage us to take spouses and follow him. Instead he told us to take up our own crosses as in Mark 8:34, and even to give up our families and our homes, which is what his disciples did as referenced in Luke 18:29-30 (Baldwin).
One could argue that the primary purpose of sexuality is a deep and intimate expression of love, leaving procreation as a secondary reason, you cannot attack homosexuality as unnatural because the end result does not produce children as it can in heterosexual relationships. It is an obvious fact that some men prefer sex with and can truly love only other men and some women prefer sex with and can truly love only other women (Thiroux pg. 352). If this argument holds true, then homosexual marriage should be sanctioned.
Regardless of moral or ethical implications, according to economists allowing same sex marriage brings many benefits to society. According to "The Economist" (16 Jan 1999) "Marriage is a great social stabilizer of men," they say and it makes them buy insurance and get mortgages rather than going out every night. Married people are happier and healthier, saving NHS costs (BCN Issue 5).
Living by many of the laws of the Bible makes better people. Whether you are Christian or not. As does living by the ways of Buddha, or Ala, or many other organized religions. But the question comes down to basic human rights. We as a nation, decreed long ago, that the people of our nation would have solace and the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Many states' laws regarding marriage has never specified directly that marriage was to be between one man and one woman. In fact, neither did the Federal Laws' definition of marriage until it was amended to read that marriage was between one man and one woman, passed by the House of Representatives in 1997. Many gay couples have a higher rate of long lasting relationships, once the commitment has been made, than do many heterosexual married couples. An example of this would be Ed, my cousin, and his partner Bruce. They have had a loving relationship for over twenty years. I feel it is a travesty that when one of them becomes ill, the other would not have the rights of a spouse to make important medical decisions for the other. I would argue, as stated above, that the primary reason for sexuality is to express love, and further even, pleasure. If ones pleasure is derived from sex with a partner of the same sex, and the deep love of a life partner is expressed to one of the same sex, then there can't be something wrong with that. Surely, I agree that we, as human animals, have certain biological urges that could lead to procreation. That same biological impulse can be seen in gay couples by their desire to have children and raise families. They will go through lengths of artificial insemination, in the case of a lesbian couple, or adoption or the hiring of a surrogate mother in the case of a gay male couple.
Denying the marriage of two people in love, by the ethical standards of our society, is wrong. It is denying one the right to the pursuit of happiness. It is denying them the stability of married life, the benefits of being able to oversee the illness of the partner, the benefits of simply loving someone that much, that you are willing to make a life long commitment such as marriage. We would never think of denying this right to a couple made up of a man and a woman.
Copyright Jonelin (L.B. Jonni Taylor) ©1999
Rathus, Spencer A. Essentials of Psychology 3rd ed. Fort Worth, TX: Holt,
Thiroux, Jacques Ethics Theory and Practice 5th ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ:
Baldwin, Matthew "Sexuality, Marriage, and Christian Values; Arguments For Including Gays In Full Christian Fellowship" dirty hippy liberal christian home journal
BCN "Bandwagon Rolls For Gay Marriage?" BCN issue 5