November 27, 2006

Dopey WNJ Letter of the Week II

Grace Donovan of Middletown writes that she found the recent News Journal article about gay teens "coming out" was ... "disturbing":

Why treat wrong personal choices made by youth as morally acceptable? This trend should not be portrayed as a lifestyle to be emulated.

On the contrary, a point should be made that an homosexual lifestyle is a distortion of human relationships as it negates the fundamental family principle of union between a man and a woman in marriage for procreation.

If we accept morally objectionable life styles, we promote the destruction of the family, the fundamental unit of society.

Even though there is not yet definitive scientific proof that homosexuality is an inherent trait, the question could be asked "Why exactly would someone choose to be gay in a society that still by and large finds it objectionable?" Why would these teens "choose" homosexuality knowing it would lead to, at a minimum, verbal abuse ... and possibly worse?

If Ms. Donovan wants to make a case about preserving the term "marriage" for heterosexuals, fine. There's a case to be made for that; however, as has been debated on various [local] blogs recently, I find the "equal protection" argument compelling -- meaning, the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause could apply to gay unions. That's civil unions, folks, not "marriage." As long as civil unions come with the same [governmental] benefits as traditional marriage, I see little to complain about from either side of the issue. Traditionalists preserve the term "marriage," while gays get all the benefits associated with being a couple.

I recall one complaint from the pro-gay "marriage" side who claimed that not allowing the term "marriage" to be used for gays would be akin to "separate but equal." I am unpersuaded. Separate but equal doctrine held that the races must be physically separate in certain accommodations, such as education, water fountains, buses. What is "separate" about "marriage" vs. civil unions? Nothing but a vocabulary word. So, if it's just a vocabulary term, what's the big deal? Well, exactly! Allow the traditionalists to keep the term which has been utilized to describe the union between a man and a woman for millenia.

Posted by Hube at November 27, 2006 04:37 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

Why would these teens "choose" homosexuality knowing it would lead to, at a minimum, verbal abuse ... and possibly worse?

cause they are self-destructive.

Posted by: steamboat willy at November 27, 2006 05:01 PM

"Why exactly would someone choose to be gay in a society that still by and large finds it objectionable?" Why would these teens "choose" homosexuality knowing it would lead to, at a minimum, verbal abuse ... and possibly worse?

Good question. Why do people choose to steal, use drugs, murder, rape, etc because most people find these to be objectionable?

Posted by: Skip at November 27, 2006 05:09 PM

I've already made my point on this over at DWA, but I wish to add that my sneaking suspicion is that this whole issue has been cooked up by gay divorce attorneys!

Posted by: G Rex at November 27, 2006 05:16 PM

Good question. Why do people choose to steal, use drugs, murder, rape, etc because most people find these to be objectionable?

Nice. Equating being gay with robbery, drug use, murder and rape.

Unreal.

Posted by: Hube at November 27, 2006 09:47 PM

SW: All gay people are self-destructive??

Posted by: Hube at November 27, 2006 09:49 PM

Why exactly would someone choose to be gay in a society that still by and large finds it objectionable?

No one chooses any of their desires directly, objectionable or not. Eskimos didn't wake up one day and decide: "Now I will like eating raw fish eyes." and I didn't choose to feel that's gross. A question about the level to which desires are chosen is rather ridiculous because it's irrelevant. To attempt to explain how the will/choice enters into desires and forms desires which forms cultures of like-minded people with similar desires and so on and on is largely irrelevant given that you missed the context of the letter and what is being chosen. It's not sexual desires that are being chosen, although will and intention certainly has been known to gradually shape groups of people's desires and therefore their culture. But the issue here is the notion of teenagers "coming out" and choosing to self-define as gay based on their sexual desires as if their own sexual desires create what is moral for them. There is evidence that this type of "gay" philosophy which is basically hedonism extends to other behaviors like alcoholism, drugs, etc., among those who choose to adhere to it. Especially teenagers, if you give it more than a passing thought numerous reasons should come to mind as to why the empirical evidence is what it is.

Note that in general self-defining as gay has never been found to be positive or a good thing that people should encourage teens in. E.g.
"...gender nonconformity and precocious psychosexual development were predictive of self harm...
For each year's delay in bisexual or homosexual self-labeling, the odds of a suicide attempt diminish by 80 percent.” (G. Remafedi, J. A.
Farrow, and R. W Deisher. “Risk Factors for Attempted Suicide
in Gay Bisexual Youth,” Pediatrics 87, no.6(1991), :869—75)

The actual empirical evidence is overwhelmingly negative as far as "being gay" whether you define that as a self-definition or behavior patterns, Gary Remafedi is gay and like many researchers waves off his negative empirical findings with speculation about its cause in discrimination, victimization and so on. But that's what it is, speculation and emotion instead of logic and systematic thought applied to empirical evidence.

Why would these teens "choose" homosexuality knowing it would lead to, at a minimum, verbal abuse ... and possibly worse?

Why do fat teens "choose" to be fat knowing that they'll be subject to verbal abuse or worse? There are actually a whole confluence of factors, most irrelevant to the fact that people still have a will.

Why do so many gays "choose" to kill themselves? Ironically, believing yourself to be the hapless victim of your environment and so on is correlated with suicide. If you continue in your reasoning you'll focus on victimization as an explanation for high rates of suicide (I guess there's no suicide gene so one has to shift to the environment, yet some seem to think that there is some sort of "sexual desire" gene!).

In actuality no one is forced to kill themselves and the will/choice probably plays a small part in everything that humans do. You'll actually dehumanizing people if you try to minimize their acts of will. At the rates that "gays" or those with gender identity disorders kill themselves as compared to other groups known to be victimized, the numbers don't all add up to the type of speculation typically used to try to get around the actual empirical evidence: "Well, this group is victimized by external factors so much that it chooses to kill itself." A line of empirical evidence that goes against such speculation is the fact that high suicide rates among gays tend to stay the same across cultures that are said to be tolerant and intolerant, e.g. the Netherlands vs. the U.S.

It's possible to go into the evidence but you're not focusing on facts and evidence. Instead here's a rhetorical question similar to your own, why would someone who says "I didn't choose to be who I am. After all, why would anyone choose to be this way!" also tend to say: "You're secretly just like me!" as if it's an insult?

Posted by: mynym at November 27, 2006 11:49 PM

Uh-oh, Hube. You've incurred the intellect of mynym. Knowing my history with him, it would likely be best for you to just ignore him. His Lexis-Nexis access will beat any logic you throw at him...hands down!

Posted by: Mike Matthews at November 27, 2006 11:56 PM

Which is better: encourage gay people to have long term stable relationships (i.e. marriage) or deny them that and hope they'll either go away or stop being gay or just go from partner to partner never developing any roots?

Regarding marriage vs. civil union: I've always believed that straight people have both. Marriage is what I did in the Church and civil union is what I did at the county courthouse.

Posted by: Duffy at November 28, 2006 09:32 AM

His Lexis-Nexis access will beat any logic you throw at him...hands down!

And in your experience, what logic did you throw at me? All I remember was something along the lines of: "I challenge you to a duel! About what...I don't know, but I like to think that I'd win." What was that about, anyway?

Information actually always "beats" logic because logic is only an information processor that will probably never create any new information, it only specifies information that is already there. The only creation of information known to take place traces back to intelligence, mind and will, which is probably why gay propaganda based on a denial of will/choice and mind in favor of feelings tends to stay the same (rather simplistic).

Back to the topic:I find the "equal protection" argument compelling -- meaning, the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause could apply to gay unions.

The 14th Amendment has nothing to do with "gay unions" because everyone is already being afforded equal protection of the laws without regard for their sexual desires or self-definitions. All the "I want to marry more than one person." people that exist and the "I want to marry a child." people, as well as "I want to marry a person of the same sex." people and even "I want to marry a person of the opposite sex." people are being treated equally under the law and afforded the same protections. There's a broad spectrum of human sexual expression but only one form of sexuality is being sanctioned by the state because it promotes the general welfare, others are not because generally they are not its equal. That which is not equal need not be treated equally. If equal protection really does apply to people who are defined merely by their own desires then it will be impossible for the state to sanction anything because every law goes against the wishes and desires of some and law does not treat all behaviors and desires equally because its purpose is to treat behaviors differently, prescribing some while proscribing others.

Many gay legal scholars actually know that relying on the gay identity and the modern invention of "gay people" that is based on little more than self-definitions and sexual behavior doesn't actually work legally (except among the sort of federal judge capable of pulling laws out of their own penumbras) so they shift to gender/sex equality in marriage. That's actually an objective matter of law that happens to fit the goal of "gay marriage" through "same-sex marriage." That's because marriage is argued to be based on sex discrimination, an objective biological fact instead of the more infantile: "I have now defined by my own desires, which changes the law by makin' me have rights based on my desires. The more I really want it, the more rights I have!"

Arguments for same-sex marriage are stronger but marriage isn't based on invidious discrimination and civil rights law intended to deal with invidious disrimination has never been extended to forms of discrimination which clearly are not invidious, which is why it is still legal for public accomodations to have separate bathrooms for men and women but not separate bathrooms for blacks and whites and so on.

How about this, I challenge Hube and Mike to a debate about how the equal protection clause applies to the issue of same-sex marriage. Then you could help each other and combine your wits.

Posted by: mynym at November 28, 2006 04:55 PM

Which is better: encourage promiscuous heterosexual men to have long term stable relationships with more than one woman (i.e. multiple marriages) or deny them that and hope they'll either go away or stop being promiscuous or just go from partner to partner never developing any roots?

You can manufacture a cultural identity around any human behavior pattern or set of desires. You assume that homosexuality is a special form of sexual behavior which can be used to define distinct "people groups" and so on when the evidence shows that it isn't. As this assumption applies to civil rights, do women shift their identity as women at rates of over %50, do blacks sometimes experiment with "being black" as a teenager and then leave their family when they decide they're not actually black only to decide later that they're really black? Of course not because the assumption that gays are just like other minorities for which civil rights laws have been applied is incorrect and there is no group of "gay people" out there that are the equivalent of woman and blacks when it comes to civil rights that will always be being discriminated against by marriage law to the degree that their own desires define them if the law isn't changed.

Nothing is actually being denied to a specific group and if what is wanted was granted it would apply to all, equally. I.e. homosexuality would be legitimized and prescribed by the state for all equally and not supposed groups called gay and straight.

Posted by: mynym at November 28, 2006 05:14 PM

Hey mynym: I said I find the case using the 14th Amendment compelling; this doesn't mean I stand 100% behind the premise nor that I cannot be persuaded against it. I, too, have pointed out that if we apply the amendment to gay unions then why not to adult incestuous couples or to "marriages" between more than a couple. But some states have used their own versions of the federal 14th amendment in their state constitutions to grant similar benefits to gay couples that straight couples enjoy. The case could be made at a federal level for federal type benefits (like social security).

Much of your argument is based on the assumption that gays form their identity merely b/c of their behavior. But I say it's what they are. Sure, what they are forms their behavior, but they are not guaranteed what everyone gets under the 14th (as when you say The 14th Amendment has nothing to do with "gay unions" because everyone is already being afforded equal protection of the laws without regard for their sexual desires or self-definitions.) But this is a convenient omission. I, as a heterosexual male, am entitled to things that a homosexual male is not. And on what basis? My given sexuality? This sure doesn't sound like "equal protection" to me. I find the "general welfare" argument weak since today I see little welfare difference between hetero and homo unions based on the usual arguments like child-rearing, procreation, etc.

Posted by: Hube at November 28, 2006 06:05 PM

The "equal protection" argument is not really at issue here. We're talking about disparate impact not disparate application.

Mynym, as George Will noted, "social change is autonomous". Gay people are living together as families/couples in significant numbers whether people like it or not. We basically have two choices, recognize that fact and bring them into the fold or plug your ears and sing so you don't notice them.

You cite self harm either directly (suicide) or indirectly (drugs, alcohol) as a reason to deny teens the ability to "come out".

In my limited personal experience, being in the closet is far more psychologically harmful. The damage done to families of gay men who get married trying to deny who they are (McGreevey) and be "normal". (Yes this is anecdotal)

You dismiss concerns about victimization as the rates of suicide are similar across "tolerant" and "intolerant" countries. Could it be that people are tolerant of things in others that they do not tolerate in their own homes? I can think of many people who think marajuiana should be legalized but they'd go bonkers if their family member was smoking it.

I'd be curious to see that same study run again in a few years and see if those suicide rates are steady.

You cite black people and women as examples of identity groups. What of people who are biracial? Do they fall outside the identity group? Many of them, when asked, declare themselves to be black, white, both or neither. Who gets to define what they are? You? Me? Or should they define themselves? I don't think sexuality always has the clear, bright lines that you seem to. Similarly there are plenty of women who are more manly than some men and men who are more feminine than some women. Both may be "straight" but they hardly conform to the standard template.

Posted by: Duffy at November 29, 2006 10:24 AM

Let me throw an oddball devil's advocate question out there - should people who co-habitate for a subjective period of time that are related by means other than parent-child (be they siblings, cousins, husbands, wives, gay, straight, friends, in-laws) be given equal special governmental monetary benefits and subsequent taxation due to the nature of their living situation?

Let's say I'm a single person who is caring for a downs-syndrome sibling in my home. Should that sibling be entitled to my social security death beneifts should I predecease them presuming we have no other relatives that support us?

If I am a grandchild taking care of an elderly grandparent in my home, should I be entitled to their benefits as I would have my time, energy and money invested in their care - perhaps even more than spousal care in the event of a long-term illness.

If I live in a home with my best friend and both our nearest relatives live out of state, should we be granted access to medical records, medical decisions, hospital visitation provided we had both legally consented?

What about people who live together but aren't married, should they get the same "rights"?

Should people, no matter their relationship with one another, that choose to take responsibility for the general welfare of others who live under the same roof be granted the kind of rights and benefits that gay rights advocates want under the term "gay-marriage"?

Is the root question here about recognition of legal status or about the expansion of benefits from a government entitlement system that would determine equality with another group?

Posted by: AnonymousOpinion at December 1, 2006 09:52 AM