Mar 26, 2013

Gay Day in America

A good day to be very judicious in consuming the output of the electric news from the cable. Anything over a couple-three minutes per hour could warp a mind into believing that there isn't a committed, loving, heterosexual couple in America -- or, if there is, no reason to pay attention to it.

Too much of what I see seems like an offshoot of some sort of old European navel-gazing novel aimed at making me like the idea of  homosexuals getting married, of achieving a class status identical to man-woman unions while simultaneously retaining their grip on the most exalted status in America -- victimhood.

I don't like it. There isn't enough money in the world to buy enough advertising to make me.

So what?

So this:

If the Supreme Court decides the Constitution protects gay marriage, good for the court. It would be the same Constitution and Constitutional reasoning that protects putrid speech. George Lincoln Rockwell.  Al Sharpton.

In a pleasant world of liberty, the court says, "Okay." Then gays marry one another, more or less quietly like most everyone else in the sub-celebrity genre. Then they shut up about it. It is found unnecessary to put their posed intimate gestures on national television in celebration of a new-found diversity.

Of course there are moral and practical objections, just as there are to other  freedoms. The morality can be debated where it belongs, outside the coercive chambers of government. Let a church sanctify gay marriages or refuse. If the Bachman woman and her husband want to operate a pray-away-the-gay business, it is neither official government business nor a fit subject for civil action.

The workaday problems can in due course yield to clear libertarian thinking. Write marriage out of the law books. Eliminate the marriage license. Write it out of the tax code and labor laws. See it for what it is, a moral and emotional commitment between humans which may be based on nothing more than that -- or on a religious ceremony or on a  confirming private contract between the private parties.

I oversimplify of course, but mostly in the quest for clarity and for final burial of the the notion that we ought to keep the 82nd Airborne on high alert for two squigglies holding hands at 42nd and Broadway.


dennisranch said...

Very good. I posted a link to this page on Facebook. Hope you get some great comments and if they sacrifice you, so be it... you can handle it! :-)

Fr. Tyler said...

I believe in human equality, and that this equality is God-given, not a result of state action. I also acknowledge that the state regulates all sorts of human relationships, and that the state sometimes elevates particular kinds of human relationships through civil recognition of them because they are of special value to a state. For this reason, it does not strike me as altogether odd for the state to insist, for instance, the the age of consent, arbitrarily determined to be eighteen years old, must have been achieved before one can marry. Likewise, it does not strike me as unjust that sexual relations between one having reached the age of consent and one who has not to be illegal. It does not strike me as unjust that closely related persons are not permitted to marry. It does not strike me as unjust that people with a certain degree of mental handicap are not permitted to marry. In each of these cases, we have willingly accepted the state's reasoning that the relationships, at best, are of no particular value to the state and at worst, do damage to the state. The coupling of adult man and an adult woman, however, benefits the state. In the context of this sort of relationship one can expect that the couple will produce offspring, and it is well established that the rearing of offspring most healthily and effectively occurs within the context of a home over which a two-gender couple presides. Children reared in this context can generally be expected to be relatively virtuous and industrious. In short, this sort of relationship is most likely to produce the sort of person necessary to provide for the continued existence of the state. In this matter, the state gives no consideration to the question of love. Application for a marriage license does not require an affidavit affirming the love between the two. It requires only that the two consent to the partnership because the state's only interest in the partnership is the potential for the couple to produce offspring. For this reason, two-gender relationships receive certain benefits from the state. This is an end that two persons of the same gender are clearly incapable of achieving. It is biologically impossible for them to reproduce. As a result, their love notwithstanding, these couples do nothing of particular benefit to the state that would merit special recognition or privilege from the state. Thus, the argument ultimately must arrive at the question as to whether the state ought to recognize any relationship between partners. That is an entirely different matter.

Even in the case of those male/female couples who cannot/will not reproduce, the coupling of the pair is qualitatively different than the coupling of two persons of the same gender. In other words, sex between two men or two women, and sex between a man and a woman, though they may seem to be similar, are two distinctly different acts. One is the normal means by which the human race (and all mammals) reproduce. The other is something else. One might think about it this way: If I had a dog, and I removes his ears, his legs, and his tail, he would be a damaged dog, but a dog he would remain. If I were to then take legs ear and tail and attach them to a cat, would I have transformed the cat into a dog? Clearly not. Likewise, even in a relationship where a couple uses the sexual act in a way that is not life producing, (cutting off its legs, ears, and tail) it remains essentially the same act. What occurs between two people of the same gender, though, only superficially mirrors what occurs between man and woman (attaching the legs, ears, and tail). The two cannot, in reality, be equated. They are essentially different acts. For this reason, it is entirely different to admit the infertile and unwilling to marriage than it is to admit people with same gender attractions.

Jim said...

Fr. Tyler: Probably the clearest way to begin is with your second paragraph, by agreeing with what I read as the crux: The homosexual act is abnormal.

That statistical assessment can be made without imposing any moral judgement.

A few years ago I was hired to make a right-wing evangelical politician look reasonable on gay marriage. (Just a political/technical matter of "broadening his demographics" in what was expected to be a close contest.)

The gay world is pretty much a stranger to me, so I quizzed a California friend who could be the gayest woman in America, a writer, publisher, and activist who probably has as much pertinent information as anyone. I wondered: "Who are we talking about? How many of them?"

While qualifying her estimate with admitted data gaps and ambiguities, she believes that one or two per cent of Americans are "gay enough" to want to marry and that perhaps 10 per cent are gay to varying lesser degrees.

So, making the most generous allowances for unconfirmed and probably unconfirmable data, we can be comfortable in believing that gay people exist at the far and low end of the bell curve.

We're certainly free to view the fact through our personal moral lenses. Whether we are or should be free to perform political acts on the basis of those judgements is the question at hand, which goes to the matter in your first paragraph. Which I will get to ...

But not before thanking you for making time for a thoughtful set of comments.