Sunday, October 23, 2005

On Homosexual Marriage

About six months ago, a former roommate (we’ll call him Ben) and I had a very interesting discussion about gay marriage. I don’t think I’ve ever shared this discussion on my blog. If I have shared it, you can skip this post. Anyhow, I used to favor gay marriage; however, since that discussion, I have been leaning away from it. I’m still not convinced either way, but I thought I’d throw these thoughts down on paper/blog space.

I like this argument because it’s one you don’t hear too often. Well, at least I don’t. I’ve just kept these thoughts in the back of my mind, until recently. Just a couple weeks ago, Jamie (best friend) and I discussed gay marriage, and I shared this perspective. She pointed out some holes in the argument, so I’ve done some adjusting, and now it’s your turn to comment. By the way, this is far from a perfect argument. But I think it’s interesting.

First off, you should know that Ben, my former roommate, comes across as homosexual, even though he is actually very straight. He gives off this impression because not only is he more effeminate, but he is also very involved in the performing arts. He’s a dancer, singer and actor. (Forgive me for stereotyping. I’ve since repented for my misjudgment.) Because of his background, he has quite a few gay friends, and he is very understanding and accepting of their lifestyle. My point: he’s not just some homophobe.

Anyhow, Ben believes that homosexual marriage should not be allowed because it wouldn’t be in the government’s best interest. Before you lynch me, hear me out. He asked me why the government sanctions marriage in the first place. I cited tradition, tax breaks, and certain legal benefits. He probed deeper, asking why the government would give tax breaks and legal benefits to a married couple, and even go so far as to validate a religious ceremony (I suppose you could argue that marriage isn’t based in religion, but I’d disagree with you).

I just looked at him, waiting for the answer he was obviously preparing to give me. He went on to explain that the government has an interest in marriage because heterosexual families are a societal good. Heterosexual marriage is good mainly because more often than not such a union leads to children. Children create growth. Growth is good because it provides a healthy economy. According to Ben, that’s one of the main reasons the government has its hand in marriage: it wants to see economic progress.

Marriage is also important because a family is the best place for a child to be reared. Families provide moral education that the government simply cannot provide. At home, children are taught to be honest, to not steal, to serve others, to be good citizens, etc. The government RELIES on families to promote a healthy, growing society.

Now, I know your following argument: “A homosexual couple could certainly rear children in a very responsible, healthy manner.” You’re absolutely right. But so could two grandparents. Or a polygamist family. Or a single mother or father. But those situations aren’t ideal for a child, so why encourage it. Plus, it’s not certain that gay people would even have children (mainly because they lack the plumbing), so why encourage an activity that has a very uncertain result. Yes, gay people can adopt, even though they can’t make babies. However, that’s not the ideal situation either, so why encourage it.

Moreover, it’s also likely that allowing homosexual marriage would cause more people to become or live homosexual lifestyles. As homosexuality increases, the number of people pursuing families and children would decrease. Fewer families having children would result in a declining population – a bad thing for any government or nation.

Summary of the main points: 1) the government wants to encourage families because they are a societal good, they grow the economy and they help teach moral education, 2) the best way to promote families is to encourage man-and-wife unions, and 3) by encouraging homosexuality, the nation’s population would likely decline at a faster rate – a bad thing.

Okay, I’m sure you all disagree on some level. I hope I haven’t offended too many. Ha! I just thought I’d get these arguments out on the table. Many of us are probably tired of the whole homosexual marriage debate, so feel free to ignore this last post if you’re fed up with it.

I’m still trying to decide what would be best – for the nation, for families, for people. Let me know what you all think.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Cruising Time (kind of like the song "Closing Time")

I had another cruising moment tonight. This time I actually had a really hard time resisting. I was walking home from the subway, and this good-looking guy and I made eye contact just outside my complex. It was the typical cruising moment: we sized each other up, and then stared each other down as we passed. After we passed, I had to keep telling myself not to look back. But that lasted only about five seconds. I finally looked back to find him looking back as well. Oh no! I was caught! Or, maybe I should say, OH YES, I was caught. Anyhow, when I turned my head, he stopped walking the other direction and was turning around, but I just looked straight ahead and kept walking. (ahh!)

I did this for a few reasons, and maybe someone can shed some light on my reaction to this event. First, even though he was very good looking (which made it hard because it made it a lot harder to keep walking), I have a feeling he just wanted a one-night stand. Am I wrong? I can’t say for certain what he wanted, but that’s what I’ve always assumed. To be honest, I’ve never understood that whole cruising process. What are their motives? Please expound if someone knows. In any case, if he just wanted to have a one-night stand, I'm almost positive I wouldn't have been interested. That's not going to be very fulfilling, right?

Second, I really don’t know what to say to someone in that situation. Had I turned around, I’m sure I would have been at a loss for words. In fact, my heart immediately started racing (I got nervous) when he turned around, and I think my reaction of just walking on was partly based in fear/nervousness.

Anyhow, I just need some reassurance that I did the right thing. Or, I need someone to tell me that I am totally off-base with my assumptions.

On another note, thanks for all the great comments. Adam’s comments were especially convincing. Thanks for all the dialogue everyone.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

The Gay Discussion

I recently learned that a genetic explanation for homosexuality is really the gay community’s only legitimizing argument for gay marriage. Last night I got into a lengthy discussion about gay marriage with five of my Mormon guy friends, a rather risky move on my part. I simply played devil’s advocate and challenged their views on the issue. All five guys were strongly opposed to gay marriage – not a big shocker considering the audience.

One of the guys was especially passionate about the issue. He has done a lot of research on the topic, and he had great arguments against it. He’s definitely on the far right of the political spectrum. Anyhow, I found that my strongest argument for gay marriage was that homosexuality may be genetics-based. Of course, other arguments do exist, but my friend was able to rebut all of them, except the genetics one. When I argued that homosexuality is determined by DNA, he had to refer to Mormon leaders who say that people aren’t born gay (a weak argument outside church circles).

The discussion was very interesting. I really enjoyed it – even though I’m sure many of them now suspect that I’m gay. Ha!

Here are some of their arguments, which are the typical ones, against homosexual marriage:

1) Sending mixed messages to children (i.e., that both homosexual and heterosexual marriages are okay) will confuse them, resulting in an increase in homosexuality.

2) Allowing homosexual marriage will lead to the destruction of the family, the fundamental unit of society.

3) Children raised in homosexual homes will develop serious psychological problems.

4) If homosexuality is learned, then the government has no obligation to allow gay marriage.

I also had a great one-on-one discussion with one of them afterward. Our discussion focused on gay Mormons. He argued that sexuality has taken center stage in our society, causing people to think that it’s the MOST important element of their life. He blamed the media for this shift in American culture. He argued that sexuality should be a secondary issue – for heterosexuals and homosexuals alike. As you can guess, he argued that gay Mormons should abstain or marry women. I really enjoyed hearing his perspective. I respect his views.

Besides those conversations, nothing really important going on in the life of this gay Mormon.