The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) debate has been going on for some time now and I just though I pen some of my thoughts on the subject. Just a quick thing about me first that I am super straight heterosexual male in my 40’s and those who know me I would expect can testify to how “girl crazy” I am.
There are so many aspect to this debate it is hard to know where to start. There is legal, moral and multiple religious aspects. I guess one of the first questions that often comes up in such debate is “is homosexuality wrong?” which I suppose is very legit question. To me equally legit question is “is it wrong to be vegetarian?” Both questions can be debated at length without really coming to a conclusive answer, as it all comes down to your believes. My personal philosophy is that it’s not dinner (or lunch for that matter) if it doesn’t involve a big chunk of a dead animal. I’m kind of the opposite of a vegetarian, a meatatarian if you will, as I don’t eat much vegetable at all. I digress from my initial point, lets get back on point.
Another question frequently brought up in the LGBT debate is the question of why, or why are homosexuals sexually attractive to the same gender. The reasons offered during such debate tend to be grouped into two buckets that could be labeled nature vs. nurture. In other words are they born that way or is it a learned behaviour or maybe some sort of a psychological disorder that needs to/can/should be cured. My believe is that they are born that way and it is not something that needs to be fixed or cured. I base this believe on couple of different factors. First I’ve read that there have been studies done to show that femininity/masculinity is developed early in the womb by the proper dose of hormones at the precise right time of fetus development. If this hormone dose is the wrong amount or the wrong timing it will affect how masculine/feminine the baby will be to the point of affecting their sexual orientation. While I can’t vouch for the authenticity or scientific validity of these studies, and I certainly don’t believe everything I read, this does make a lot of sense to me so I am inclined to believe it. Think about why some women are very feminine and others are much more of a tomboys, or why some straight guys are more masculine than others. To me it stands to reason to me that sexual orientation is a continuous scale of masculinity to feminine. My other reasoning is based on my personal reflection, as I can’t imagine a scenario where I would be sexually attractive to guys. I’ve had few different “what if” debates analyzing different scenarios surrounding social norms, upbringing, values, etc., and I always come to the same conclusion that I could never be attractive to guys, or even pretend I was in order to fit in. Then I take that ideology and extrapolate on it. If me deciding or pretending to have a different sexual orientation is so unthinkable it stands to reason that others are the same way regardless of what their orientation is. So then to me any arguments claiming it is a choice, upbringing, etc., makes absolutely no sense to me which leads me back to the nature argument (i.e. they are are born that way, it’s just the way they are, etc.)
With all that being said I’m actually going to argue that the why doesn’t even matter, here is why via analogy. I hate nuts, pretty much all nuts in all forms. The absolutely worst type of nuts for me is peanuts, and especially peanut butter. Just the smell of it turns my stomach. I know a lot of folks don’t understand how I can hate something so passionately that they love so much. We could try to analyze the reason, maybe I have some sort of nut allergy and my body knows it at some level without my brain recognizing it and then try to “cure me” so I can enjoy the same love of peanut butter as so many enjoy. In the end does it really matter why I hate peanut butter? And discrimination against me for hating peanut butter, such as denying me right or a privilege simply based on the fact that I hate peanut butter, is just wrong. Does it really matter why vegetarian don’t like meat? Should we try to cure them? Should we pass a law requiring all restaurants to only serve meet dishes? Does it really matter why we have the preference we do?
Lets look at the religious aspect of this debate. There are number of religions out there that teach that homosexuality is wrong, immoral, sinful, etc., They mainly site the Bible (or their holy book, such as Koran, etc., depending on the religion) as the reason. I was brought up in a Lutheran house hold in a Lutheran society in Europe and I was never taught that. I was taught to love thy neighbor unconditionally and without judgment. I do not believe that Jesus and God discriminate based on your preferences, I believe you will be judged based on how you treated those around you, not by who you choose to love. I believe that all love (and I mean true love, not manipulation and control tactics labeled as love) is good and there is no such thing as sinful or immoral love.
Lets look at the legal aspect of the LGBT debate which is often referred to as “the same sex marriage debate”. The US federal government passed a law in 1996 called “The Defense of Marriage Act (Public Law 104-199)” commonly known as “DOMA.” This law defined marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman. It also allowed states, territories, possessions and Indian tribes to choose whether to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. Since then six states and the District of Columbia have passed laws to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples. All other states, with three exception, plus the federal government do not recognize same sex couples married in these six states as legally married and do not grant them the legal rights that are granted to couples that fall under the DOMA definition of a marriage. It seems to me that the arguments behind DOMA are all religious based, which to me seems a violation of the first amendment to US constitution often referred to as “separation of church and state”. However it seems that so far the Supreme Court disagree’s with my opinion, despite other less relevant issues have been deemed a violation.
Some say the term “marriage” is a religious term and since their religion believes homosexuality to be wrong the term “same sex marriage” is offensive. They say that same sex unions can have all the same rights as long as it isn’t called a marriage. That’s a fair point, but it doesn’t seem to allow for the possibility that some other religion believes there is nothing wrong with homosexuality, so if marriage is a religious term it should be open to all religions to use according to their believes. The solution to me seems to be to either ban the word marriage altogether and replace it with union and/or prepend it with religious affiliation such as Catholic-marriage, civil-marriage, Baptist-marriage, Presbyterian-marriage, etc. If we are going to be really specific about the definition of the term marriage based on religion we need to allow each religion to define it based on each religious views. Or we can just all be tolerant and accepting of other folks views, believes and preferences.
After all it basically boils down civil/human rights issue to me. There was a time when child labor was perfectly acceptable, women had no rights, and folks with colored skin had even less right and in many cases were someone’s property simply based on the color of their skin. We look back on those days with horror as we have matured way past those sort of discrimination or so we like to believe. However I believe the current “same but different” attitude against LGBT folks is of the same mindset. It didn’t work back in the sixties for the blacks and it doesn’t work any better today for LGBT people.
In the end I believe we all just need to be accepting and tolerant of others view, believes and preference. We shouldn’t be worrying about what two consenting adults do in the privacy of their homes, nor should we try to control who people choose as their spouse.
As always I am very interested in your thoughts and comments on this issue.