Tough Questions Answered

A Christian Apologetics Blog

Why Should the State Endorse Gay Marriage?

Post Author: Bill Pratt

I wrote a post recently about why the state endorses and promotes marriage between a man and a woman.  Simply put, the state needs children and it needs children raised in the ideal environment for them to become productive adult citizens, which is a family headed by a man and a woman.  Biology, common sense, and vast empirical research prove this to be the case.  Additionally, traditional marriage domesticates men and protects mothers.

Based on these societal interests, why would the state want to endorse gay marriage?

Gay marriages do not produce children.  In fact, the only way a same sex couple can “produce” children is to use people from outside their marriage.  They cannot procreate by themselves and they rely on traditional male-female sexual unions to provide children.

Gay marriages are not the ideal environment to raise children.  Every single gay marriage deprives a child of either a father or a mother.  Again, nature, common sense, and empirical research all demonstrate that children thrive best when they are raised in a family with a father and mother.

Gay marriage does nothing to domesticate men.  The great majority of gay men are not monogamous; they seek sexual gratification outside their primary relationship.  One study tracked 100 gay male couples, and after 5 years not one couple could boast that both partners had remained sexually faithful.  The idea of two men gay men living faithfully in a long-term commitment is a myth.  The research proves just the opposite.

Only gay marriages between women provide any sort of security or protection for a mother.  The quality of that security is debatable, but it seems like it could provide better security than single motherhood.

So, to summarize, at least 3 out of the 4 primary reasons that the state promotes traditional marriage do not apply to gay marriages.  It is only if marriage is completely redefined and its purpose fundamentally altered that same sex marriage advocates have any kind of argument.

You may think same sex marriage is harmless to our society (I disagree but that is a topic for another day), but I want to know why the state should endorse it.  After all, that is what gay marriage advocates want – a state endorsement of their relationship.  There are plenty of relationships that are harmless that the state does not promote.  What is so special about this one?

Make an argument for why we should radically alter our marriage laws.  Show us why, if you are a gay marriage proponent, this is so good for our entire nation.

Addendum: For additional information on whether homosexuality is inherited, please see this post, and for additional arguments against gay marriage, please see this post.


About The Author

Comments

  • http://suddenlyatheist.wordpress.com/ morsec0de

    Again, you seem to be confused, as the state allows people to be married regardless of children. Whether they have them, don’t have them, want them, don’t want them or can’t have them.

    “in the ideal environment for them to become productive adult citizens”

    Sorry, but that’s not what straight marriage provides. Straight marriage, and you’ve been told this before, produces children equivalent to children raised by a gay couple.

    The only difference is the couple raised by a straight couple are more likely to be against gay marriage. Which is something you want, I’m sure.

  • lightsmith

    You’re absolutely right that society needs children, and the only way to get them is a union between a man and a woman. I agree that having the state endorse a marriage between two people who want to have children together (or who have already had children together) is a good thing.

    I also think that the reluctance of many religious people to extend that same endorsement to same-sex couples is born of the same irrational prejudice that, half a century ago, was opposed to having the state endorse interracial marriages.

    Your claim that gay marriage does nothing to domesticate men is a bit disingenuous. You cite (without references) a study that purportedly followed 100 couples and found that none of them could claim both partners remained faithful after five years.

    Even assuming that there is actually such a study, and that its methodology was valid (both of which are doubtful), the question arises, were these couples married? Somehow I doubt it, since no state has legalized gay marriage for five years. So it really doesn’t reflect on gay marriage so much as shacking up. And certainly, if your alleged study involved 100 lesbian couples, you would likely have seen levels of monogamy which exceeded 100 actually-married heterosexual couples, simply because women tend to be more monogamous than men.

    I expect that gay men who are actually married will be less prone to infidelity, for the same reasons that heterosexual men who are actually married (as opposed to simply living with their partner) are more faithful. That’s one of the reasons the state endorses these unions, right? To give them a little more weight, a little more gravity, so that those involved are more likely to take their commitments to each other seriously.

    There is no reason to expect that gay men who are allowed to marry will be any less susceptible to this “domesticating influence” than heterosexual men.

    As to your claim that children are better raised in a family headed by a man and a woman, and that this claim is supported by “vast empirical research,” I challenge you to cite such research. While it’s undoubtedly true that children raised by two parents tend to do better than children raised by single parents, I don’t believe there’s any reason to assume that two men or two women can’t raise a child which is, on average, just as healthy and well-adjusted as a child which is raised by a man and a women. I don’t believe there are any legitimate empirical studies which support your claim.

    That being the case, is it not better to allow two partners to enjoy the benefits of marriage when they are raising children, regardless of their gender? Do you honestly think that a lesbian mother would do a better job of raising a child by herself than she would do if she was married to a woman who could provide the same sorts of assistance a husband could provide? Perhaps you’d argue that she should find a man to marry, but if her biology leads her to prefer a woman, isn’t it more likely that a marriage which conforms to that preference is more likely to endure than a marriage which seeks to suppress it? You acknowledge yourself that a marriage between two women provides some security for the women. Even if that were the ONLY benefit, what purpose is served by denying them that security?

    Finally, your argument that the state should not endorse gay marriage because such marriages do not produce children is invalid. If that was a valid reason for the state to refuse to endorse such marriages, marriages between couples in which one or both partners is infertile (such as a marriage between senior citizens) would also be on the “do not endorse” list. Society is served when two people can form a lasting union, even if that union does not produce children. The pair can support each other financially and emotionally, providing society with a healthier and more well-adjusted citizenry.

    In short, gay marriage is a good idea for most of the same reasons that heterosexual marriage is a good idea. It is only irrational prejudice which blinds you to the benefits more family units would bring to all of us.

  • Bill Pratt

    “You cite (without references) a study that purportedly followed 100 couples and found that none of them could claim both partners remained faithful after five years.”

    I try not to make things up, as I believe that would be morally wrong. It’s one of those funny Christian quirks. Here is the reference:

    David P. McWhirter and Andrew M. Mattison, The Male Couple: How Relationships Develop (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1984).

    The authors of the study, who are themselves gay, concluded that to be gay is to need multiple partners. They insist that lasting, faithful relationships do not exist in the normal homosexual lifestyle.

  • Bill Pratt

    Morsecode,
    Generally I’m not the confused one in our discussions, but maybe that’s just my irrational religious psychosis talking. I was not talking specifically about who the state allows to get a marriage license, which is obviously any male-female couple over a certain age. I was explaining why the state would be interested in promoting the institution of marriage at all. What I am saying is that if nobody who married ever produced children, the state would have no interest in endorsing marriage. The vast majority of those who get married, however, do produce children. There are obvious exceptions, but the exception does not make the rule.

    This does bring up an interesting point. If our society gets to the point where marriage and child-bearing are completely decoupled, for whatever reason, I would say that one of the major reasons for the state promoting marriage had disappeared.

    “Sorry, but that’s not what straight marriage provides. Straight marriage, and you’ve been told this before, produces children equivalent to children raised by a gay couple.”

    So let me get this straight. You believe that it is completely irrelevant to the upbringing of a child as to whether they have a father and a mother. That the pattern for child-raising over the last several thousand years is unnecessary. Tell me, since you are willing to deprive future children of mothers or fathers, would you be willing to make that sacrifice yourself? Do you believe that your mother could have been a man or that your father could have been a woman and your upbringing would have been just as good?

    I cruised around the internet, by the way, and found several articles that basically made these claims: 1) thousands of studies have shown that heterosexual two-parent families are superior in many ways to unmarried parents or single parent families when it comes to child-raising, 2) there has been very little long range study of children raised in gay marriages – the studies that have been have done are too sparse and not long term (the jury is out, in other words).

    Now, let me add something. I am not saying that it is impossible for gay couples to raise children who will become productive citizens. There are always going to be success stories. What I’m saying is that the ideal is the heterosexual marriage. Men and women bring very different influences to their children, and we should want as many children as possible to experience that ideal. I would hope that we could at least agree on that.

  • Bill Pratt

    “Society is served when two people can form a lasting union, even if that union does not produce children. The pair can support each other financially and emotionally, providing society with a healthier and more well-adjusted citizenry.”

    Nobody is stopping gay people from forming lasting unions today! In fact, any two, three, or ten people can commit to each other in long-lasting relationships. You are not asking for this right. You specifically want the state to promote and endorse this particular kind of union. But why stop there? Should the state not also promote unions between multiple individuals? What about adults who want to form unions with children? Are incestual unions OK?

    On what rational grounds would you deny individuals who wanted these kinds of unions?

  • lightsmith

    Obviously, a study from 1984 is not dealing with gay marriage, but rather the last days of the sexual revolution that had only recently seen gay couples coming out of the closet for the first time.

    I’ll see if a local library has a copy of the book so I can make a more informed comment, but the assertion that lasting, faithful relationships do not exist in the normal homosexual lifestyle is simply untrue.

  • lightsmith

    Promote? No. Permit? Yes.

    I don’t personally thinking adding additional people to an intimate pair makes the pair more stable. I think the near-universal emotion of jealousy makes two people the optimum number for a stable relationship.

    Children should be protected from being exploited by adults, and are not mature enough to enter into contractual commitments.

    Incestuous relationships have a higher probability of leading to congenital birth defects, and should be discouraged for that reason.

    I’m surprised you omitted bestiality; usually the list of strawmen from opponents of gay marriage includes the many people who want to marry their dogs. But of course, animals are also not capable of entering into contracts, so that too is a non-starter.

    So I’ve offered the rational grounds upon which I’d deny the individuals who wanted those kinds of unions, none of which apply to two unrelated consenting adults of the same gender.

  • http://gonovelgo.wordpress.com gonovelgo

    What empirical research are you referencing here?

  • Bill Pratt

    You are on shaky ground, my friend. I have a whole lot more where this came from, and I will give you some of the statistics later today when I get time.

  • Bill Pratt

    “I don’t personally thinking adding additional people to an intimate pair makes the pair more stable. I think the near-universal emotion of jealousy makes two people the optimum number for a stable relationship.”

    There are plenty of examples of polygamous marriages where jealousy is not an issue, and that appear to very stable. In addition, since when is the state in the business of legislating jealousy away? As long as there is a genuine commitment between individuals, and it provides stability, polygamy should be legalized. You must have some irrational and prejudiced view against these people that is clouding your judgment.

    “Children should be protected from being exploited by adults, and are not mature enough to enter into contractual commitments.”

    In some cases, younger children may be mature enough. It depends on the child. And why are you judging an adult who wants to couple with children as being exploitative? You don’t know that is the case in every single instance. I’m sure there are many examples where adults feel naturally attracted to children and want to have long-lasting and stable relationships with them. As long as this is possible, you are merely discriminating against these people in an irrational and prejudiced manner.

    “Incestuous relationships have a higher probability of leading to congenital birth defects, and should be discouraged for that reason.”

    So what? There are many married couples who carry genetic diseases and end up passing them on to their children. We allow them to get married. Besides, through genetic testing and counseling, we could help incestuous couples to avoid passing on certain disorders to their children. Also, we could allow incestuous couples to marry and then adopt children or use artificial insemination, just like gay couples do. In the end, you are just revealing more irrational discrimination against people who genuinely want to form long-lasting and stable marriages.

    What I hope you can see is that your arguments against these groups of people marrying are easily refuted when we don’t have an agreed upon purpose for marriage and an agreed upon moral law. I actually agree with you in the cases above (although I may have used some different arguments), but I wanted you to see what it feels like to be on my side in the gay marriage debate. People like you consistently accuse me of being a bigot, of being backward, of being irrational toward gay marriage. Now you know a little bit how that feels.

    You want to re-define marriage to include same-sex couples, even though they fail to produce children or raise children in the ideal father-mother environment. You argue that as long as two people want to couple and provide a stable home for children, they should be able to marry.

    Eventually, the polygamists are going to come along and say: “We want to form unions that provide a stable home for children, too.” They will argue, like you have, that the traditional view of marriage between two people is arbitrary and that marriage should be permitted as long as the goal is to provide a stable home for children.

    When you weaken the definition of marriage it becomes completely malleable and increasingly hard to defend. Eventually the institution will completely break down.

  • http://www.secularthinker.com The Secular Thinker

    It seems you may be confused about the purpose of a marriage. You purport the purpose to be the raising of the children, however I’m not quite sure you’ve done your homework. Marriages contain various legal and practical benefits that have nothing to do with raising children, such as:

    1. Filing joint tax returns
    2. Receiving Social Security, Medicare, and disability benefits for spouses.
    3. Receiving veterans’ and military benefits for spouses, such as those for education, medical care, or special loans.
    4. Family visitation rights, such as to visit a spouse in a hospital or prison
    5. Permission to make arrangements for burial or cremation in the end of death.
    6. Right to inheritance of property without extensive legal work.
    7. Access to “family only” services, including membership into certain clubs or organizations.

    As you can see, these benefits relate only to the two people involved in the marriage. They are basic legal and practical rights that married couples receive, and for that reason should be extended to homosexual couples as well.

    Additionally, I am curious what you are referencinig when you say that “Biology, common sense, and vast empirical research prove this to be the case.” Where are your citations to the empirical research, and please elaborate what you mean by common sense, because I see no reason why homosexual marriage is opposed to common sense. Also, your understanding of biology may need some research, because I’m not sure that biology has anything to do with creating “productive adult citizens”.

  • lightsmith

    “What I hope you can see is that your arguments against these groups of people marrying are easily refuted when we don’t have an agreed upon purpose for marriage and an agreed upon moral law. I actually agree with you in the cases above (although I may have used some different arguments), but I wanted you to see what it feels like to be on my side in the gay marriage debate. People like you consistently accuse me of being a bigot, of being backward, of being irrational toward gay marriage. Now you know a little bit how that feels.”

    Fair enough. I believe that, in addition to being less stable, polygamous families exploit women, but perhaps that is, as you argue, just an irrational prejudice. We are dealing with consenting adults, after all. Certainly, expanding marriage to include more than one person would not be as simple as permitting same-sex unions. For example, under current law a surviving spouse inherits the deceased’s property, if there is no will stipulating otherwise. Amending marriage laws to include polygamy would require revising inheritance law as well, since how can the court decide how a diverse collection of assets will be fairly divided? Lots of other laws would be impacted if polygamy were legalized.

    I think bigotry is the most likely explanation for most of the opposition to gay marriage, but I may be mistaken in your case. You know your own heart better than I do, but you may be mistaken too. It’s easy to be blind to our own prejudices, and the human mind is a remarkable tool for rationalizing emotions that reason didn’t originate.

    You’ve offered an arguably objective reason why gay marriage should not be sanctioned by the state: same-sex couples cannot produce children. That’s a reasonable point to raise, and I tend to agree with you that the primary interest the state has in ratifying the marriage contract in the first place is to provide a more stable environment in which to raise children. The bureaucracy wasn’t created to give the state’s stamp of approval to romantic attachments, and from the state’s point of view, that’s a secondary consideration.

    However, let’s see for a moment how your “agreed upon purpose for marriage and [...] agreed upon moral law” play out when it comes to polygamy, incest, and child-adult unions.

    Certainly, polygamous unions can produce more children, as can incestuous unions. Child-adult unions, while they may not produce children right away, certainly create an environment in which MORE children can be produced, since as soon as the child in the pair is physically capable of reproducing, a pregnancy may result.

    I don’t know which agreed-upon moral law we’ll choose, but I assume you’d prefer “God’s Guide to Good Living” otherwise known as the Bible, which endorses not only polygamy but having children with concubines outside the marriage contract altogether. I don’t believe the Bible gives the ages of most (perhaps any) of the women giving birth, so its position on child-adult unions is indeterminate, but I think it’s fair to assume that, at the time it was written, it was not uncommon for girls to become pregnant as soon as they reached puberty, which undoubtedly led to many 13- and 14-year-olds getting married, and perhaps some 11- and 12-year-olds too.

    In short, whatever arguments there may or may not be for expanding the definition of marriage to include polygamy, incest, and child-adult unions, such arguments are not impacted whatsoever by your choice of “encouraging procreation” as the standard for determining which marriages the state should and should not sanction. They’re only slightly impacted if we take the Bible as the moral standard. While the Bible is pretty clearly anti-incest, it regards polygamy favorably and is neutral regarding adult-child marriage.

    In fact, if we consider Paul and the New Testament, some of it is clearly anti-marriage and anti-family. Paul considered marriage to be the lesser of two evils, and preferred celibacy if possible. Jesus said that anyone who did not hate his mother and father and wife and children could not be a disciple.

    Fortunately, as a society, we’ve had sense enough to ignore such extreme recommendations, and are able to use our ability to reason to determine for ourselves what makes sense in the world in which we live today.

    I think that, unlike the desert dwellers thousands of years ago, we don’t have a shortage of births today, or (in this country) high child mortality rates which make a high birth rate desirable.

    I think it makes sense to encourage stable families for raising those children which ARE born, but that two men or two women will generally raise children which are just as healthy and well-adjusted as a man and a woman.

    As a heterosexual man with a wife and children myself, I don’t think my marriage of 20+ years needs to be “defended” by refusing gay couples the right to be married too.
    I favor amending the laws to permit gay marriage.

  • Bill Pratt

    OK, lightsmith believes that the vast majority of gay couples are able to live in monogamous relationships. I used to think this as well until I started reading about it. Following are just a few examples of the kinds of research I came across. I invite anyone else who finds research that either confirms or contradicts these findings to post them. I am truly interested in the truth. Here goes:

    One survey found infidelity in about 62% of gay couples, which led researchers in the Journal of Family Psychology to write, “The practice of sexual nonmonogamy among some gay couples is one variable that differentiates gay and heterosexual couples.”

    Quoted in Warren Throckmorton, Ph.D., “Chris Matthews’ Hard Sell: Pay attention to the common Assumptions about Gay Marriage,” online at http://www.pfm.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Home&TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&CONTENTID=13210, Accessed September 22, 2004.

    75% of gay men commit most of their sexual acts with men they do not know. About 30% of gay men have more than 1,000 lifetime partners.

    Bell and Weinberg, Homosexualities: A Study of Diversity Among Men and Women (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1978)

    Only 10% of male homosexuals and 28% of female homosexuals can be classified as “close-coupled” or “quasi-married” where the amount of extraneous sex had to be low.

    Bell and Weinberg, Homosexualities: A Study of Diversity Among Men and Women (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1978)

    74% of male homosexuals report having more than 100 partners in their lifetime, 41% more than 500 partners, 28% more than 1,000 partners. 75% reported that more than half their partners were strangers and 65% reported that they had sex with more than half their partners only once.

    Bell and Weinberg, Homosexualities: A Study of Diversity Among Men and Women (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1978)

    Only 8% of homosexual men and 7% of homosexual women reported ever having a relationship that lasted more than 3 years.

    Saghir and Robins, Male and Female Homosexuality: A Comprehensive Investigation (Baltimore: Williams Wilkins, 1973), derived from tables in 4.10, 4.14, 12.7, and 12.11.

    A Los Angeles study found that male homosexuals average over 20 partners per year.

    L. Linn, et al., “Recent Sexual Behaviors Among Homosexual Men Seeking Primary Medical Care,” Archives of Internal Medicine 149 (Dec 1989).

    A three-year study in Boston found that 77% of 481 male subjects had had more than 10 partners in the previous 5 years, 34% more than 50 partners in the previous 5 years.

    G. R. Seage III et al., “The Relation Between Nitrate Inhalants, Unprotected Anal Intercourse and the Risk of Immunodeficiency Virus Infection,” American Journal of Epidemiology 135, (January 1, 1992).

    The combined result of two Dutch studies in 1992 showed that 78% of 577 randomly selected male subjects reported more than 5 partners in the previous year, 45% more than 20 partners.

    P. J. Veugelers et al., “Estimation of the Magnitude of the HIV Epidemic Among Homosexual Men: Utilization of Survey Data in Predictive Models,” European Journal of Epidemiology 9 (July 1993)

    As a comparison to the general population, studies have shown that 17% of men and 10% of women had more than one partner in the previous year.

    Leigh, Temple, and Trocki, “The Sexual Behavior of US Adults: Results from a Nation Survey,” American Journal of Public Health 83 (October 1993).

    Another study compared instances of non-monogamy in the previous year among different groups. 79% of close-coupled homosexual males reported one or more instances, 19% of lesbians, 10% among married heterosexuals, and 23% among co-habiting heterosexuals.

    Blumstein and Schwartz, “Intimate Relationships and the Creation of Sexuality,” in Homosexuality/Heterosexuality: Concepts of Sexual Orientation, ed. McWhirter, Sanders, and Reinisch, Kinsey Institute Series 2 (New York: Oxford University Press , 1990)

    According to Thomas E Schmidt, “If we project these numbers out several years, the number of homosexual men who experience anything like lifelong fidelity becomes, statistically speaking, almost meaningless.”

    Thomas E Schmidt, Straight and Narrow? (Downers Grove, IL, InterVarsity Press, 1995)

  • http://gonovelgo.wordpress.com gonovelgo

    Which website(s) did you get these statistics from? (This is a genuine question; I’m not just being facetious.)

  • Bill Pratt

    I found these statistics in several places, but primarily from two books: Straight and Narrow? and None of These Diseases

    Both of these books did a great job carefully documenting all of the research they cited, so I was able to gather all the source references from their endnotes.

  • Bill Pratt

    Lightsmith,
    I understand your position, but I obviously disagree when it comes to gay marriage. I do want to address a few issues you raised and I hope you will take them charitably.

    First, your understanding of what the Bible teaches is poor. It is frustrating, as a Christian, to be told what I believe and what God’s Word says by people who do not believe God exists and do not care to study or understand what the Bible says. Just because the Bible mentions polygamous relationships does not mean that God endorses them. The Bible mentions an incredible number of things which it does not endorse. The patriarchs of the Old Testament made numerous mistakes and sinned frequently. God put up with their lifestyles in order to teach them more pressing matters, just as he puts up with your dislike of him in hopes that some day you will come to him. The patriarchs were free moral agents who made mistakes, but God guided them regardless of their sinful lives. The Old Testament is a record of that guidance.

    In addition, Paul is not anti-marriage or anti-family. Again, you have ripped isolated sentences completely out of context. Paul’s comments in 1 Cor 7 were dealing with specific issues in Corinth of sex within marriage, celibacy, and singleness. The Corinthians were struggling with these issues and Paul was offering his guidance to them. It was hardly a general denunciation of marriage and family. Paul was a devout Jew who regarded the Old Testament as the Word of God. God commanded humans to go forth and multiply and Paul would never have contradicted this command.

    But moving on from your misguided Bible interpretations, let me get back to the gay marriage issue. I did not only argue that procreation is the most important reason for marriage; I also argued that one man-one woman marriage provides the ideal environment to raise children. I have provided several research studies in another comment that clearly show that gay couples are largely non-monogamous. I think you would agree that unfaithful spouses cause severe distress and damage to any home.

    You have never dealt with this fact. You have only written the promissory note that if gay couples could legally marry, they would better behave themselves. You have no way of knowing that, and you are, in fact, willing to do social experimentation with children, forcing them to be raised in homes without a mother or father. The evidence overwhelmingly shows that gay couples are far more unlikely to keep stable relationships for a lifetime than are heterosexuals. But you don’t seem to care. I know that some gay couples are stable, but how can we know which ones? Should we just keep throwing children into these relationships and see what happens?

    With regard to polygamy, they can certainly produce children, but they are not providing the ideal one man-one woman family. On those grounds I would reject polygamous marriage.

    With regard to incest and adult-child marriage, I stand with you in condemning them because they are both almost always exploitative. Typically one member of the proposed marriage is being forced against their will or being treated as an object rather than a subject. In addition, it is safe to say that the family environment, even though a father and mother may be present, will be extremely unhealthy and often dysfunctional.

    I thought I would end on a note of agreement. :)

  • Bill Pratt

    Please see my other comments for some empirical research on the non-monogamy of gay couples. In addition, I have also mentioned that there are thousands of studies that have shown the superiority of families with a father and mother over single parent families or families where the adults in the home are not married. I have also mentioned that the research on children in homes of gay, married couples is sparse and hardly conclusive. It will take many more years of research that cover at least a couple of generations of children before we know a lot about children raised in gay homes. The jury will be out for awhile.

    Why do I say biology and common sense? Because only men and women can biologically produce children, not two men or two women. Nature obviously never intended two men or two women to couple and produce children. In fact, if gay marriage became the norm for society, our society would die out from lack of children. Those who support the state promotion of gay marriage find themselves saying something like, “We promote it, but only as long as heterosexual marriage continues to dominate numerically. After all, we can’t allow gay marriage to get too popular!” It seems extremely odd to me that gay marriage advocates are in this position of only promoting it partially. No sane person would want everyone to be gay; it would mean the end of the human race.

    As far as all the benefits of marriage you mention, those are the means by which the state promotes marriage. The state is interested in making it easy for men and women to marry and stay married, so it provides lots of benefits to those who marry and stay married. My point about gay marriage is that the state has no good reason to promote the unions of gay couples, so it therefore should not provide these kinds of benefits to gay couples.

  • http://gonovelgo.wordpress.com gonovelgo

    (I’m putting this down here because it needs some space to be readable.)

    Just because a peace of research was documented does not mean that it was reliable. Case in point:

    The ‘Homosexualities’ study appears to be somewhat notorious for being misused, and I continuously run into the following quote from its authors:

    “. . . given the variety of circumstances which discourage homosexuals from participating in research studies, it is unlikely that any investigator will ever be in a position to say that this or that is true of a given percentage of all homosexuals.”

    I can’t actually read the paper, since it’s not showing up in any of the academic journal archives I have access to, but if that quote is in their then it’s something to be aware of.

    Also keep in mind that the work was done in 1978. I’m not sure if some of their more extreme numbers (1,000 partners?) are from the infamous ‘Dutch Study’, but they look similar. If so, that would be reason enough to disregard them.

    The 1973 Wilkins study is also fairly out of date, and appears to have been superseded by the work of a group of associated researchers who show up in Wilkins’ citations(unfortunately I don’t have access to their papers).

    Medical studies, in particular ones involving HIV patients, are frequently used to deduce statistics about average same-sex couples, but there are a number of problems with this. At least two oft-cited studies specifically excluded people in monogamous relationships, while also asking that participants be below a certain age (I think it was something like 30).

    It was also relatively easy to find a conflicting study on JSTOR:

    “Many if not most lesbians and gay men express the desire for an enduring love relationship with a partner of the same gender. Indeed, research findings suggest that many are successful in creating such relationships. Survey data suggest that 40 to 60% of gay man and 45 to 80% of lesbians are currently involved in steady romantic relationships (see Peplau & Cochran, 1990; Peplau et al., 1996). Because most surveys involve many young adults who may not yet have found romantic partners, these figures may underestimate the actual numbers.”

    -’Family Relationships of Lesbians and Gay Men’ in the Journal of Marriage and Family, Vol. 62, No. 4 (Nov. 2000), p. 1053.

    Peplau comes up as a citation in the Homosexualities study as well, but this one appears to be much more recent.

    The same paper goes on to say that lesbian and heterosexual couples are more likely than gay couples to desire exclusive monogamy after 2 to 10 years (p. 1054), but that reported satisfaction with sexual relationships does not change with gender or orientation. (This would actually be in line with my own experiences, incidentally – many older gay couples seem to be open to having sexual relationships with others, apparently with no detrimental effect to their commitment to one another. Apparently it’s a male thing.)

    Here are the statistics on break-up rates (paraphrased, because the section is too long to quote verbatim):

    For couples who had been together 10 years, breakup rates over an 18 month study were low: 6% of lesbian couples, 4% of gay couples and 4% of married couples separated during that period. For couples who had been together less than 2 years the numbers were 22% of lesbian couples, 16% of gay couples, 17% of cohabiting (but unmarried) heterosexual couples and only 4% of heterosexual married couples had separated. (pp.1054-1055).

    There’s a clear correlation there between marriage and low breakup rates. The author goes on to say that married heterosexual couples find it more difficult (experience more ‘obstacles’) to leaving a relationship that they’re dissatisfied with than do lesbian, gay or unmarried cohabiting couples.

    All of this would seem to contradict the idea that same-sex couples are almost never long-lasting or stable, and furthermore suggests that, where breakup rates are higher, the only difference between same-sex and heterosexual couples is that the latter is able to marry whereas the former is not.

    Studies of divorced lesbian parents suggest that there are some psychological issues that are unique to them and not found in divorced heterosexual female parents, but the research is apparently inconclusive. Studies of divorced homosexual men found almost no differences between them and their heterosexual counterparts in terms of motives for parenthood or in how they interacted with their children – except, oddly, that homosexual male parents are likely to be more responsive to their children and to engage in ‘limit setting’ more often. But again, the research is scant in that area.

    With regard to the children of gay and lesbian parents (and focusing more on adopted children or those born into the relationship rather than those from pre-existing opposite-sex relationships):

    “Concerns about possible difficulties in personal development among children of lesbian and gay parents have not been sustained by the results of research (Patterson, 1992, 1995a, 1997). As was true for sexual identity, studies of other aspects of personal development have revealed no significant differences between children of lesbian or gay parents and children of heterosexual parents. Thus, fears that children of gay and lesbian parents suffer deficits in personal development are without empirical foundation.”

    -Ibid, p. 1060.

    Children of lesbian parents at least also report that they don’t suffer any increased stigmatization because of their parents’ orientation. The author goes on to say that ‘Fears that children in custody of gay or lesbian parents might be at a heightened risk for sexual abuse are without empirical foundation (Patterson, 1992, 1995a, 1996)’.

    All of the above agrees with the stated findings of almost every professional organization that has spoken on the matter of gay parenting, with the most notable exception being NARTH. (Surprise!)

    In summary, this paper at least seems to contradict pretty much everything you posted above. I’m not saying that it’s definitely right, obviously, but it certainly casts some of the more extreme figures into question. I’d also like to point out that ‘common sense’ rarely if ever trumps empirical research. This is true for virtually every branch of science and for the social sciences as well. ‘According to common sense’ is another way of saying ‘my prejudices/gut instincts tell me so’, which is why researchers do their very best to ignore it.

    I feel that this is extremely unfair of you:

    The evidence overwhelmingly shows that gay couples are far more unlikely to keep stable relationships for a lifetime than are heterosexuals. But you don’t seem to care. I know that some gay couples are stable, but how can we know which ones? Should we just keep throwing children into these relationships and see what happens?

    No, of course not. Nobody is going to ‘keep throwing children into [those] relationships’, because nobody needs to. There are already many, many children whose parents or guardians are gay and who provide ample research candidates. And, as I said above, the research indicates that those children probably develop in just the same way as the children of heterosexual parents.

    Finally, and this does bare saying even though you’ve given out to me for doing it before, there is a very sharp distinction between the results of research that is backed or published by Evangelical Christian organizations or authors and that which is published by academics – the conflict between the aforementioned NARTH and the APA being a good example. When you mentioned the book Straight and Narrow, I could tell immediately that the author was writing from an Evangelical Christian perspective based only on the citations you provided. (I’ve just checked Amazon, and None of These Diseases is also a Christian book – again, I’m not surprised.) If you’re really looking for ‘the truth’, go straight to the academic sources rather than relying on somebody else to collect and present the information for you.

  • http://gonovelgo.wordpress.com gonovelgo

    Okay, I’ve completely screwed up the comment ordering. My bad, I thought that was going to go right at the bottom -_-

  • lightsmith

    I realize it’s frustrating to you to be confronted with my interpretations of what the Bible says. The frustration you experience is probably similar to the frustration I experience when I discuss it with a believer who has a rationalization for everything. From my perspective, the Bible is a morass of often contradictory counsel, and it’s possible to dip a spoon into that pot of stew and come out with a bit of almost anything. Those who champion it as an “objective standard” of morality, as opposed to the shifting, subjective standards to which non-believers subscribe, are (in my opinion) simply fooling themselves, by selectively ignoring the vast swatches of Biblical text which do not conform to their own shifting, subjective standards. But that’s probably a discussion for another day.

    To begin to address your specific points here, you state, “Just because the Bible mentions polygamous relationships does not mean that God endorses them. The Bible mentions an incredible number of things which it does not endorse. The patriarchs of the Old Testament made numerous mistakes and sinned frequently.”

    My question to you is, where in the Bible is polygamy prohibited? There is plenty of room in the Bible for pages of dry genealogies, and explicit prohibitions of such minutiae as wearing mixed fabric. When Biblical men who “found favor with God” are depicted as polygamous, the obvious inference is that God does not frown on polygamy per se.

    Indeed, it’s not too difficult to find passages in which God himself explicitly condones polygamy. One version of the Ten Commandments is found in Exodus 20. The King James Version of Exodus 20:1 says “And God spake all these words, saying,”. Exodus 21:1 continues: “Now these are the judgments which thou shalt set before them.” It certainly seems to me that it’s still the Voice of God speaking here.

    When we get to Exodus 21:10, we read, “If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish.”

    Notice: The “judgment” is not “Don’t take more than one wife.” It’s “If you DO take more than one wife, you can’t neglect the previous wives.”

    At the very least, God appears to CONDONE polygamy, if not endorse it outright.

    Perhaps this made sense at the time it was written, when men were regularly hacking each other to pieces over things like “worshiping false gods” and general wickedness. The resulting shortage of available men, and levels of famine and disease which made it difficult to raise children to adulthood, might have made one-man-many-women marriages an attractive option. As a society, we’ve evolved beyond that.

    I think the day is coming when we as a society also evolve beyond the need to discourage same-sex marriages, even if they’re unlikely to produce families with children. I’m willing to concede that homosexual men are less likely to remain faithful within “monogamous” unions, though I believe that homosexual women are MORE likely to remain faithful. Many of the figures you yourself cite bear this out.

    I also think it’s unlikely that there will be a large percentage of married gay men who will want to have children, and I suspect those who do will tend to be about as faithful as their heterosexual counterparts. The only male gay couple with a child that I’m aware of is Dan Savage and his partner. You can read about them at http://www.time.com/time/columnist/sachs/article/0,9565,1115796,00.html.

  • http://www.secularthinker.com The Secular Thinker

    “Nature obviously never intended two men or two women to couple and produce children.”

    How do you know this? Did nature intend for human’s to create nuclear bombs, which could one day be used to destroy the earth and “nature” itself?

    “In fact, if gay marriage became the norm for society, our society would die out from lack of children.”

    It seems that your argument is against homosexuality, not the social and legal arrangement of marriage. People can create children all they want, REGARDLESS of any marriage laws. If, as you expressed fear of, one day homosexuality outnumbered heterosexuality, the consequence would be less children. HOWEVER, heterosexual couples could have more children to make up for it. If, for some reason, the entire population of the world become homosexual, that would be natural because it happened in nature! I going to assume that you believe homosexuality to be a choice, not genetic (practically you must believe this, otherwise your argument would hold no weight). I will save that argument for another time, but if it is a choice, and everybody in the entire world choose it, then, for some strange reason, we were not meant to continue as a species. Addiationally, we would have to be completely mentally incompetent to all choose the end of our species over the continuation, as this is directly contrary to evolution. Either way, if homosexuality is a choice, then your argument would be with all the people who (stupidly) chose the end of our species, so it is a moot point for now.

    “No sane person would want everyone to be gay; it would mean the end of the human race.”

    Finally, something we agree upon! I would prefer the continuation of our species if at all possible, so in that sense I would not want everyone on earth to be homosexual. However, as I mentioned above, allowing gay marriage does not in any way change the rate of gay relationships. Heterosexuals do not need marriage to procreate, much like homosexuals do not need marriage to NOT procreate.

    “The state is interested in making it easy for men and women to marry and stay married, so it provides lots of benefits to those who marry and stay married.”

    Correction: “The state is interested in making it BENEFICIAL for men and women to marry and stay married”, not easy. Those legal right ands benefits I mentioned had nothing to do with the difficulty or ease of marriage, only with incentives to do so.

    “My point about gay marriage is that the state has no good reason to promote the unions of gay couples, so it therefore should not provide these kinds of benefits to gay couples.”

    No good reason? How about providing all of its (the state) citizens with equal rights and protections? While I agree with you that if everyone was homosexual the human race would end, allowing same sex marriage has ZERO affect on this. Homosexuality would exist regardless of whether a government was there to legislate marriage laws or not. Again, I see your argument as being against homosexuality, not against marriage. If there was any demonstrable, reliable evidence that we were moving toward a world where at some point everyone would be homosexual, then maybe I would be on your side. But until you show me that that is what’s actually happening, your argument will have to wait.

  • Bill Pratt

    “My question to you is, where in the Bible is polygamy prohibited?”

    “He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray.”
    The Holy Bible : New International Version (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996, c1984), Dt 17:17.

    In addition, God set the pattern for one-man-one-woman marriage in Genesis 1 and 2. In Matt 19:4-6. Jesus reiterates this ideal.

    In 1 Cor 7:2-3, Paul again reiterates this pattern that each man should have one wife and each woman one husband. He states this again in 1 Tim 3:2, 12 with regard to church leaders.

    In addition, polygamy is first mentioned in Gen 4:19 where Lamech took two wives. In the text, Lamech and his family represent the sinful depravity over against Seth’s godly line of descendants. Clearly God is equating polygamy with sin in this case.

    In addition, both David and Solomon are seen to pay dearly for their polygamy. All sorts of problems occur for them that are directly tied to their taking on multiple wives.

    I think the Bible makes a strong case against polygamy.

  • lightsmith

    Deuteronomy 17:17 is either a prescription or a prediction about the future king of Israel. There is nothing to suggest that this is intended as a law for the general population. Deuteronomy 17 also says the future king is not supposed to acquire a lot of horses, silver, or gold. And, he shouldn’t go to Egypt, or convince people to do so.

    See, that’s exactly what I’m talking about. You’ll stretch and strain to make that kind of “out of context” snippet support a position you’ve already convinced yourself is the correct position. At the same time, you’ll ignore something which clearly IS a law for the general population like Exodus 21:10, which not only says polygamy is acceptable, but lays out the conditions which the righteous polygamist must fulfill.

    In Matthew 19:12, Jesus seems to endorse the anti-marriage idea of renouncing marriage altogether for “the kingdom of heaven,” adding “The one who can accept this should accept it.” In Matthew 19:21, he advises those who want to follow him to sell all their possessions and give to the poor. Once again, you focus only on the snippet which can be interpreted to bolster your desire to deny other people equal rights, while ignoring the uncomfortable directives addressed to you.

    Citing examples of marriages which consist of a man and a woman doesn’t make the case that these are the ONLY acceptable marriages, especially when we read elsewhere specific instructions for how God expects polygamists to behave.

  • lightsmith

    Sorry for leaving this twice, I thought I was responding to Bill’s last (8/24) comment, but I see that my comment is buried upstream somewhere where it doesn’t make a lot of sense.

    Bill wrote the following, in response to my question “Where does the Bible prohibit polygamy?”:


    “He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray.”
    The Holy Bible : New International Version (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996, c1984), Dt 17:17.

    In addition, God set the pattern for one-man-one-woman marriage in Genesis 1 and 2. In Matt 19:4-6. Jesus reiterates this ideal.

    I replied:

    Deuteronomy 17:17 is either a prescription or a prediction about the future king of Israel. There is nothing to suggest that this is intended as a law for the general population. Deuteronomy 17 also says the future king is not supposed to acquire a lot of horses, silver, or gold. And, he shouldn’t go to Egypt, or convince people to do so.

    See, that’s exactly what I’m talking about. You’ll stretch and strain to make that kind of “out of context” snippet support a position you’ve already convinced yourself is the correct position. At the same time, you’ll ignore something which clearly IS a law for the general population like Exodus 21:10, which not only says polygamy is acceptable, but lays out the conditions which the righteous polygamist must fulfill.

    In Matthew 19:12, Jesus seems to endorse the anti-marriage idea of renouncing marriage altogether for “the kingdom of heaven,” adding “The one who can accept this should accept it.” In Matthew 19:21, he advises those who want to follow him to sell all their possessions and give to the poor. Once again, you focus only on the snippet which can be interpreted to bolster your desire to deny other people equal rights, while ignoring the uncomfortable directives addressed to you.

    Citing examples of marriages which consist of a man and a woman doesn’t make the case that these are the ONLY acceptable marriages, especially when we read elsewhere specific instructions for how God expects polygamists to behave.

  • Bill Pratt

    Ex 21:10- says, “If he marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights.”

    This verse does not say polygamy is acceptable. It is placing restrictions on those who do marry more than one woman, and is therefore effectively discouraging polygamy. Here again, you do not understand the Bible. As I’ve already said, God puts up with all kinds of sins throughout the Bible to focus on the bigger picture. Nowhere in that verse is God saying, “Please go ahead and marry as many wives as you want.” You are reading that into the verse because it fits your preconceived notions.

    Deut. 17:17 is part of the Torah, which means “Law.” The first five books of the OT are the Law. Deuteronomy means, “second law,” because it consists of largely a restating of the laws already discussed in the first four books of the Law. This verse specifically forbids any king of Israel from having multiple wives. It may very well foreshadow the future kings’ behavior, but it is undoubtedly a prescription against polygamy.

    “Once again, you focus only on the snippet which can be interpreted to bolster your desire to deny other people equal rights, while ignoring the uncomfortable directives addressed to you.”

    What are you talking about? You seem to be confusing our discussion about gay marriage with God’s view of polygamy. My previous response was simply to demonstrate that your statement that God promotes polygamy is false. I was showing you several verses that speak of one man-one woman marriage over against polygamy. I never once mentioned any of these verses as arguments against gay marriage because I knew that they would be completely ineffective with you. You are the one who is bringing religion into this debate about gay marriage, not me. Why are you putting words into my mouth that I have not spoken?

  • Bill Pratt

    Thanks for the research citations. I’ll let the readers decide what to believe, as we have both provided them with research and the results speak for themselves, I think.

    As for your comment about evangelical-backed research, I did not cite any such thing. I found the research through Christian writers, but that has nothing to do with the funding or source of the research. In fact, much of the research I cited was performed by academics who were either pro-gay or neutral. The two books I mention relate this fact over and over. So, for you to attack the research I mentioned as somehow biased is a textbook example of the genetic fallacy. How I came to find the data is completely irrelevant as to whether the data is true or not. I hope you can understand the difference and I hope you won’t make this mistake again in talking to others about this issue.

  • http://gonovelgo.wordpress.com gonovelgo

    I think you may have misunderstood me. (Or else I wrote poorly, one or the other.) I am not saying that these particular studies are funded, written or backed by Christian groups, nor am I saying that that would invalidate them. The studies you brought up are flawed in and of themselves. Because they are flawed, any book that uses them is also going to be flawed.

    The Christian aspect comes into this because Christian (and Muslim and Jewish and White Supremacist…) antigay websites and books overwhelmingly utilize flawed research, usually because it happens to fit in well with their message. Just look at the ‘Dutch Report’ issue I mentioned above for an example of what I’m talking about. I attacked the research because it’s of poor academic quality – I attacked the book because it used that poor research, which is an undeniable trend among people who feel that the best way to be ‘compassionate’ towards homosexuals is to demonize. The author of the book you mentioned is, according to the book itself, a distinguished academic. I’m a first year undergraduate. If I could spot faulty research that easily, he certainly should have been able to do it.

  • Bill Pratt

    It seems to me that your view is the following: if the research portrays gays in a bad light, the research is flawed. If it portrays gays in a good light, it is not flawed.

    I’m glad we have that straightened out.

    Oh, and one other thing. I produced studies from at least 9 different sources. You cited only one. Please go off and do more homework.

  • http://gonovelgo.wordpress.com gonovelgo

    (Quoted because of the weird commenting system – this is a reply to the below)

    It seems to me that your view is the following: if the research portrays gays in a bad light, the research is flawed. If it portrays gays in a good light, it is not flawed.

    I’m glad we have that straightened out.

    Oh, and one other thing. I produced studies from at least 9 different sources. You cited only one. Please go off and do more homework.

    I’m not sure if you have some sort of reading comprehension problem or if you’re being intentionally obtuse, but it should be obvious that that isn’t even close to what I was saying.

    And the study I brought up was a literature review of the published research as of the year 2000 and uses dozens of individual papers. If you’re interested in ‘the truth’, you could always work your way through the citations pages – there’s a lot more than nine in there.

  • lightsmith

    Ex 21:10- says, “If he marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights.”

    “This verse does not say polygamy is acceptable. It is placing restrictions on those who do marry more than one woman, and is therefore effectively discouraging polygamy. Here again, you do not understand the Bible. As I’ve already said, God puts up with all kinds of sins throughout the Bible to focus on the bigger picture.”

    This verse is not discouraging polygamy, any more than placing restrictions on diet (“No pork”) discourages eating.

    The fact is that there are all kinds of outright prohibitions on marriage — Don’t marry your father’s wife, for example — in the Bible. This is not such a prohibition, but rather a guide describing how to do it right. Elsewhere we read that primogeniture is to be respected even if your first-born is not from your favorite wife.

    This rationalization that God “puts up with all kinds of sins” is hollow when we consider the lengthy lists of actual prohibitions, covering diet, clothing, and yes, marriage, which are spelled out in the Bible.

    Unless you’re a future king of Israel, there is no place in the Bible which codifies a similar prohibition (or prediction) when it comes to polygamy.

    “You are the one who is bringing religion into this debate about gay marriage, not me. Why are you putting words into my mouth that I have not spoken?”

    I’m not putting words in your mouth. I’d be willing to bet that you ignore the call to drag disobedient children to the edge of town and stone them to death, and the prohibition of wearing clothing made of both cotton and wool. One of these is something God commands his followers to do, and the other is something that God commands his followers not to do.

    Perhaps you even ignore the prohibition against eating pork, even though it is an abomination.

    My point is simply that religious people pick and choose when it comes to justifying their notions of right and wrong with verses from the Bible. I believe that as a secular society, we have managed to craft a set of laws which are more fair and more humane than what is found in the Bible. I expect that the day is not far off when that fairness and humanity will extend to giving gay couples the same civil rights enjoyed today by heterosexuals.

  • Bill Pratt

    “My point is simply that religious people pick and choose when it comes to justifying their notions of right and wrong with verses from the Bible.”

    And critics of Christianity pick and choose verses out of context in the Bible to justify their negative views of Christianity.

    I really don’t see where this is getting us anywhere.

  • Bill Pratt

    “I’m not sure if you have some sort of reading comprehension problem or if you’re being intentionally obtuse, but it should be obvious that that isn’t even close to what I was saying.”

    Go back and read your comments again. You dismissed with a wave of your hand all of the studies I cited, or that’s how I read it. You then proceeded to cite studies (I apologize for misunderstanding that you were citing more than one study – it was not clear from the comment) which you obviously don’t think are flawed. Your comment was littered with criticisms of the research I cited, and you even resorted to the tired approach of, “You know you can’t trust those studies because anti-gay Christians cite them.”

    If you are truly being objective about this whole thing, then why don’t you write some comments along the line of, “Yes, it seems that there is some research that contradicts my position. However, I have discovered other research that seems to present the opposite view.” This is not your approach, so I tried to cut through the baloney and just state your position as clearly as possible.

    If I am wrong, then please go through the 9 studies I cited and tell me specifically which ones are flawed and which ones are not flawed, and give your reasons why. That way, the obtuseness can come to an end.

  • Bill Pratt

    First, I think the argument from nature and biology stands. Clearly male bodies are meant to couple with female bodies. I’m not sure why you’re arguing this point.

    Second, you state that I am against homosexuality. That is not exactly correct. I am against homosexual behavior. Gay marriage is inextricably tied to homosexual behavior, and in fact puts the state in the position of endorsing this behavior. It is a package deal.

    Third, the state endorses marriage for the procreation of children and the raising of children in the ideal father-mother family. Gay marriage fails at both of these purposes. You claim that the state should endorse gay marriage because of equal rights. What you fail to understand is that every single person in our country has the same equal right to marry a person of the opposite sex! We are all treated absolutely equally by the marriage laws. We do have equal rights.

    What you want is not equal rights, but you want a new right. You want people of the same sex to be able to form a union and for the state to sanction this union and call it “marriage.” This is not equal rights, but brand new rights that have never existed before.

    The marriage laws do not discriminate at all. They are equally applied to everyone. Therefore, you are again stuck with making an argument for why the state should create a new right which never existed before. It clearly can’t be about procreation and child-rearing. Maybe there are good arguments for creating this new right, but you have not yet made the case.

  • lightsmith

    I demonstrated that your “he shall not take many wives” quote was out of context, because the context was that this applied only to a hypothetical future king of Israel.

    Which of my statements are out of context, and what context is necessary to clarify their true meaning?

  • http://gonovelgo.wordpress.com gonovelgo

    The ‘Homosexualities’ study is both out of date and unrepresentative according to the authors themselves (assuming that the quote I attributed to it is accurate – as I said, I don’t have access to the full text).

    The link to the Throckmorton paper doesn’t work, so I have no idea what context that quote appears in or even what the full paper is actually about.

    Four of the citations are either from epidemiological studies involving HIV or else (in one case) a study of gay men seeking primary medical care. None of those studies are primarily about anything we’re actually talking about here, and without access to the entire things it’s impossible to know whether or not they’re representative. As I said before, several frequently-cited HIV research papers excluded monogamous couples and anybody over the age of 30, yet they’re still used to ‘prove’ that gay men are incapable of having long-lasting relationships. It’s always possible that the studies you’ve cited are different, all I have to work with here is a single paragraph from each.

    And just to show you an example of what I mean, and using one of those paragraphs:

    A three-year study in Boston found that 77% of 481 male subjects had had more than 10 partners in the previous 5 years, 34% more than 50 partners in the previous 5 years.

    Who exactly are these ‘male subjects’? Are they representative of the gay population? Probably not, since any medical study is going to be looking for particular participants rather than taking a random sampling from the population at large.

    And this one doesn’t even make any sense out of context:

    As a comparison to the general population, studies have shown that 17% of men and 10% of women had more than one partner in the previous year.

    How is it a comparison if we don’t know what the figures for the general population are?

    The only study you brought up that seems to agree with the other research out there is the Blumstein and Schwartz one on monogamy rates. There’s no real reason to doubt it, except for the fact that I haven’t read more than a tiny snippet from it. (Although that last point really goes for all of them…)

    Your comment was littered with criticisms of the research I cited, and you even resorted to the tired approach of, “You know you can’t trust those studies because anti-gay Christians cite them.”

    If you can show me where I actually said that, I will be more than happy to chalk it up to poor wording on my part and apologize for it – which I’ve actually already done, even though I’m pretty certain I never said anything close to that and I certainly didn’t ever intend to. The point I’ve been making is the exact opposite: anti-gay Christians tend to use flawed studies. Those studies are flawed for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with who uses them. The two issues are entirely separate.

    I’d also like to point out that I’ve already said that the paper I brought up is not necessarily perfect or even good. However, it is a recent review of what appears to be a huge amount of data (seriously, the citations go on for a long time), and it has the virtue of agreeing with what every mainstream psychological and sociological organization I can think of has to say about same-sex couples, marriage and parenting. Given a choice between out-of-context paragraphs or my own undoubtedly inept research into a field that is not my own, I’m willing to go with the experts anyway.

  • David Coultous

    Bill :
    “What you fail to understand is that every single person in our country has the same equal right to marry a person of the opposite sex! We are all treated absolutely equally by the marriage laws. We do have equal rights.

    What you want is not equal rights, but you want a new right”

    I’m sorry to say, but this is a completely disingenuous argument. The right that heterosexuals have that homosexuals do not, under current legislation, is the right to marry the person they love.

    If everyone had the right to marry someone of the same sex as themselves (but not the right to marry the opposite sex), would you be happy that we all had “equal rights”? (even if you were unhappy for other reasons). Somehow I don’t think so.

    ” Those who support the state promotion of gay marriage find themselves saying something like, “We promote it, but only as long as heterosexual marriage continues to dominate numerically. After all, we can’t allow gay marriage to get too popular!” It seems extremely odd to me that gay marriage advocates are in this position of only promoting it partially. No sane person would want everyone to be gay; it would mean the end of the human race.”

    This statement appears to show an advanced case of homophobia (I hope I am wrong, but I have tried in vain to read it otherwise). The idea that homosexuality will ‘spread’ if it is “promoted” is absurd (not to mention the “end of the human race” rhetoric).
    i support gay marriage (and straight marriage) no matter what proportion of the population wishes to do what. It just so happens that homosexuality is in the minority, and thus heterosexual marriages will “continue to dominate numerically”. In the extremely unlikely event this situation changes, my position will not change, no matter what words you put in my mouth. People should be free to pursue happiness, as i believe some American chap said… He didn’t add “except for gay people”.

    “Second, you state that I am against homosexuality. That is not exactly correct. I am against homosexual behavior.”

    Could you clarify this statement please? what behaviour are you referring to? From the context (“Gay marriage is inextricably tied to homosexual behavior”) it would appear you mean sex? or co-habiting? or some other perfectly normal behaviour for a couple?

    It saddens me that most Christians I come across seem to have this issue with homosexuality. Why, I ask you, do you have this opposition? Why do you believe your God dislikes it? Why would he be bothered with people’s personal lives in this way? To view this from our previous question on ‘morality’ : homosexuality and heterosexuality harm noone. They are not ‘wrong’. Intolerance of homosexuality (or heterosexuality) does certainly harm people, and thus I believe it is completely wrong.
    I used to think well of christian morality, even after I left the faith (I am an ex-christian myself), but issues such as this one leave me in utter disbelief that believers can think they are morally in the right. What possible justification can you give for your position?

    Sincerely

    David

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi David,
    Before we dive into your questions, I want to affirm that I am absolutely not homophobic, if that means an intense fear or hatred of homosexual people. I have known many homosexual folks over the years, and have treated them with nothing but kindness and respect. It seems grossly unfair that any time a person takes a position against homosexual behavior or gay marriage, the “homophobe” label is thrown at them. I hope you’ll stop doing this.

    Now, before I start talking about why I oppose homosexual behavior, I need to ask you a question. Do you believe that any sexual behavior is morally wrong (e.g., pre-marital sex, adulterous sex, sex between an adult and child, rape, etc.)?

    Thanks,
    Bill

  • David Coultous

    Hi Bill,

    As i said, I am hoping that the impression of homophobia that I (genuinely) received from some of your comments is wrong. I am not throwing the “homophobe” label as you accuse me of. I was hoping you could clarify and respond so as to dispel the impression (or perhaps unfortunately to confirm it).

    What irked me most is that you put the apparently homophobic words into the mouths of gay marraige advocates(!) by claiming that they are afraid that gay marraige will become “too popular”, and are thus only “promoting” it “partially”. Apart from the general offensiveness of having words put in one’s mouth, this purported position is simply absurd IMHO.

    Advocating gay marriage is not advocating it instead of straight marriage, but alongside it. It is simply recognising the right of two consenting adults in a committed relationship to have that relationship recognised by the state, with the concomitant rights. Same sex marriage will not change the porportion of heterosexuality/homosexuality (or of homosexual/heterosexual ‘behaviour’, whatever you mean by that) in the population, and there is no need for the fears you express (either for yourself or for others).

    Also, of course, if the proportions of sexual orientations changed in the population, for whatever reason, I don’t see why that would necessarily be a bad thing. Your views on this appear to be based on your opposition to ‘homosexual behaviour’, the meaning of which I hope you will clarify.

    “Now, before I start talking about why I oppose homosexual behavior, I need to ask you a question. Do you believe that any sexual behavior is morally wrong (e.g., pre-marital sex, adulterous sex, sex between an adult and child, rape, etc.)?”

    Two comments on this.

    First I will answer your question : Of course some sexual behaviour is morally wrong (for the same reasons that any forms of behaviour can be morally wrong – people get hurt). To quickly go through your examples:- premarital sex – not wrong, adulterous sex – wrong if people are deceived or hurt, not wrong if everyone involved is happy with it, sex between an adult and child – wrong, rape – wrong

    Secondly, all these (and indeed most examples of sexual behaviour, right or wrong) are completely orthogonal to the issue of homosexuality/heterosexuality. Changing the respective genders involved in the various forms of sexual behaviour do not change whether that particular behaviour is right or wrong. To say otherwise would appear to be based on prejudice rather than reason.

    To use one of your examples : A man raping a woman is an example of ‘heterosexual behaviour’. Should we oppose ‘heterosexual behaviour’ because of it? Making sweeping generalisations about groups of people based on the behaviour of some is dangerous.

    Reading the posts on this thread, you and others quote various studies of the respective faithfulness (and other qualities) of different forms of relationship. Assuming the veracity of *your* facts – i haven’t checked them, or those quoted by others or know of any studies myself : So you believe that if x% of homosexuals are unfaithful, those that aren’t should not be allowed to marry?
    A worrying porportion of straight marraiges end in divorce. Many others are unhappy. Should we ban marriage altogether? No, its there for the successes, it shouldn’t be prohibited because of the failures. Also if certain demographic groups are shown to honour marriage less, should we remove marriage rights from those groups? Perhaps on a state by state basis even? No, the same right should be there for all, otherwise you will discriminate against some who would benefit, based on statistics grouping them with others who happen to share some demographic with them. People should be judged as individuals not on sweeping generalisations based on some shared traits.

    I hope you can clarify your views, as i am currently having great difficulty seeing where you are coming from.

    All the best (& Happy New Year)

    David

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi David,
    I think we are getting to the difference between us. It is how we determine right and wrong. You state that you determine right and wrong by when “people get hurt.” So you are OK with premarital sex and adulterous sex (when couples agree). I assume you also are OK with homosexual sex because nobody is getting hurt, in your opinion.

    This seems like a utilitarian ethic, where you determine right and wrong by what gives an individual pleasure and what gives an individual pain. Any activity that gratifies a person is OK, but an activity that hurts a person is wrong.

    I do not adhere to that system of ethics, and nor do many other people. I believe that some behaviors are wrong, regardless of whether an individual person gets pleasure from it. The problem with your view is that it only looks at the actual people directly involved in the activity instead of recognizing that everything individuals do affect those around them, either directly or indirectly.

    Let me give you an analogy from C.S. Lewis. Think of the whole human race as a fleet of ships sailing toward a destination. Each individual person is a ship in the fleet. There are three things that must occur for the fleet to be successful.

    First, the individual ships must avoid colliding with each other (people should not hurt each other).

    Second, the inside of each ship must be properly maintained. Why? First, because each ship is valuable and worthy of being kept in good condition. Second, because a ship with a broken down engine is going to drift into other ships and cause them damage. Only ships that have all their equipment working in good order can steer correctly and avoid hitting the other ships.

    Third, all the ships have to be sailing in the same direction. If all of the ships are sailing in different directions, the fleet becomes completely aimless and goes nowhere, hardly a successful fleet.

    You seem to be arguing that only the first rule is important, whereas we can ignore the second and third rules of the fleet. Your concept seems to be that the ships can sail anywhere they want and can maintain or not maintain their vessels. I think this only works if the ships are not, in fact, in a fleet, but are just individual ships with no allegiance to anyone else but themselves. Your system requires that the ocean be large enough to accommodate ships breaking down and sailing in erratic patterns. I think this is completely unrealistic because human society cannot function this way. Every person’s behavior affects others. If your ship breaks down, you are going to run into someone else, unless you live on an island by yourself. There is not enough room on the ocean for all of us to go whichever way we want.

    Why is homosexual sex wrong? Because it physically, emotionally, and spiritually damages most of the people who engage in it. These ships are destroying their engine rooms and will eventually start running into the rest of us.

    If you believe that homosexual sexual behavior does not “ruin the ship” and that it won’t cause any more collisions than heterosexual sex within a marriage, then I’m afraid we are at an impasse. I believe this behavior does cause damage and the research is there to document it. In fact, most people intuitively know that this behavior is destructive without ever having to look at research. I ask you to read what’s out there and dig into the subject more.

    Rather than dismiss the conclusion that homosexual sex is damaging, consider these things. Why is it that homosexual behavior has been frowned upon by virtually every culture since the dawn of man? Why is it that all three of the major monotheistic religions (Christianity, Islam, Judaism) specifically forbid this behavior? Where did they get this idea? I’m not saying these things prove the point. I’m just saying that to write off this position as crazy is unwarranted. Your position is in the tiny minority of human history. It’s true that you may be right and everyone else wrong, but you should at least give the rest of humanity the benefit of the doubt and look into why they believe what they do. What physical, emotional, and spiritual damage is done? Look into that question. I can make some suggestions if you’re interested.

    That’s all for now. Let me know how you would like to proceed.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  • David Coultous

    Hi Bill,

    Firstly I must briefly discuss your analysis of my ‘morality’. I feel you misrepresent me (and the utilitarian ethic) by suggesting that it “only looks at the people directly involved in the activity”. You go on to say that, *in contrast* you and others recognise that “everything inidividuals do affect those around them, either directly or indirectly”. I feel you create a strawman from your overly facile interpretation of my views; then by observing the superiority of your ethics to your strawman, conclude their superiority over mine…
    If one is looking not to negatively impact others one must look at the effects one’s activities have on others, directly, indirectly or otherwise. Similarly the ‘utilitarian ethic’ as I understand it does not say “do not harm those directly involved with your actions, but don’t worry if those actions indirectly lead to someone being harmed”. It simply states “do not cause harm to others”. This harm to be avoided can be direct or indirect.

    there are also subtle misrepresentations built into the way you respond. e.g. “I believe that some behaviors are wrong, regardless of whether an individual person gets pleasure from it”
    which argues against a strawman argument that things are not wrong if someone (and indeed an individual) gains pleasure from them (which is certainly not something I have said, and certainly not something i agree with). My criteria for something to be wrong is if it harms someone (directly or indirectly). if it does not harm anyone (directly or indirectly) it is not wrong.

    I haven’t heard CS Lewis’s ships analogy before. Things like this make me wonder about the man. According to this view, Lewis would have seen himself as one of the ships with a broken down engine. He never came to terms with his own sado-masochism and felt extremely guilty about indulging in it with his last wife. But this is a digression. Lewis’ specific internal conflicts are not important in this discussion, nor indeed is the question of sado-masochism [once again orthogonal to sexual orientation]

    I would broadly agree with the view the ships analogy describes (despite your suggestion I would dispose of laws 2 and 3).
    Everyone does need to take responsibility for, and care of, themselves to ensure they do not cause problems for others. [Though i would add that the ships should help each other when they do run into trouble as they are almost certain to in the perilous sea of life - something missing from the analogy as stated].
    Also we do need to sail in roughly the same direction (though I think we would disagree here in degree). This is why society has things like laws, and why we need to agree on ways to run our society (as opposed to leaving things to anarchy, a situation almost certain to lead to many collisions). However, the general course set is not a rigid course, and there is much leeway for individual choice within it (as I am sure someone from “the land of the free” would understand)

    =

    But now to the real point of the discussion. Thank you for your clarification.

    We appear to disagree about the effects of homosexual sex on people. I doubt either of us has any first hand experience of it, so I would be interested to know where your views come from. i work on the assumption that others, by and large, are much like me. People are attracted to people and form relationships on that basis. For the most part the attraction is between people of opposite sexes, but in a significant minority this is between people of the same sex. Apart from the reproductive implications, I don’t see any reason to view this as any different. Certainly from anecdotal evidence, comparing gay and straight people I know personally, there seems to be the same gamut of kinds of relationships : casual, serious; healthy, unhealthy etc. across the spectrum of orientations.

    You say that it damages those who engage in it. This is a big statement, and one that requires evidence to back it up (you mentioned you could point to some?). I note your concern is not so much for those engaged in it (who are supposedly being damaged), but for “the rest of us” who will eventually ‘suffer’ because of it (in some unspecified way).

    I am aware that some homosexual people have problems, but this largely has to do with external intolerance of homosexuality; or of internal conflict between what someone has been raised to believe is ‘right’ and what their actual feelings are. These problems lie, I believe, with society and not with the individuals concerned. After all, what do you suggest a homosexual do? Suppress their sexuality (sexual repression can be extremely destructive) or live a lie and ‘try’ to be straight? Indeed as attitudes towards homosexuality have liberalised in recent decades these problems have decreased.
    All the evidence seems to suggest that people are happiest, and healthiest when they are comfortable with who they are, and live in an environment where they are not discriminated against because of who they are. The most serious problems are faced by those who are coming to terms with their sexuality in an environment hostile to it, especially if they themselves believe it is ‘wrong’. Some religious environments, for example, make young people feel guilty about *any* sexual feelings they have; I hope we at least agree that that is wrong?
    You also say that “most people intuitively know that this behavior is destructive without ever having to look at research.”. I would call this “intuitive knowledge … without research” ‘prejudice’. It is akin to the “intuitive knowledge” that one cannot trust foreigners; or to the “intuitive knowledge” that those who look different to one (different colour, facial feratures etc.) are fundamentally different to oneself. The relatively modern view that peoples of all races and nationalities are fundamentally the same is a position “in the tiny minority of human history”. Should we “give the rest of humanity the benefit of the doubt and look into why they believe what they do. ” in these cases, as you suggest we do with historically intolerant attitudes to homosexuality?

    “Rather than dismiss the conclusion that homosexual sex is damaging, consider these things.”
    I don’t dismiss it. Its just I know of know reason why it intrinsically is, or of any evidecne that it is so. The burden of proof is yours. If you can show that it is, please do so.
    for now, i shall attempt to consider your questions:-
    “Why is it that homosexual behavior has been frowned upon by virtually every culture since the dawn of man?”
    As I have already argued, this is also a question relevant to racism and xenophobia. I hope we agree that these viewpoints are wrong. Human attitudes to many things have changed over the millennia. Hopefully we have grown. Looking at the world, it would seem, not enough yet unfortunately.
    Also homosexual behaviour has not been “frowned upon by every other culture since the dawn of man”. There are some cultures which accepted it as normal, others where it was an integral part of society. The evidence suggests that homoeroticism and sexual relations between men were a significant part of Ancient Greek military tradition. Achilles in Greek myth (the greatest warrior figure in Greek tradition) had a male lover, as did Alexander the Great, to quote a historical example. In New Guinea, where due to isolation and inaccessibility many disparate cultures developed independently from each other and the outside world until modern times, there were a wide variety of sexual attitudes, ranging from the very prudish to the very liberal. In one tribe the young men lived together, and had sexual relations with each other, until they took a wife. Even then, the young man would mostly live in the common men’s hut and visit his wife from time to time.
    It is the past millenium or two where, in the west, the Judeo-Christian and Muslim cultures have held sway that there has been much intolerance of homosexuality. which leads us to:-
    ” Why is it that all three of the major monotheistic religions (Christianity, Islam, Judaism) specifically forbid this behavior? Where did they get this idea? ”
    The fallacy of this question lies in its implication of broad sweep (all three of the major…). These three religions all have the same root – the Judeo-Christian tradition (from which Islam was essentially derived by Mohammed). That this tradition has supplanted most of its competitors does not change the fact that this is from one root and thus not an example of a wide range of cultures.
    Anyway, why do they forbid it? They forbid many things (including eating pork and shell-fish – bar the christian branch). Cultures have always decided that things are taboo for one reason or another. An essentially minority activity would seem to be a ripe target, especially one associated with something as primal as sex. In more recent times, left-handers were forced to write with their right hands as this was the “correct” way to do it, even though this made things extremely difficult for them. Minority activity is often a target for being “frowned upon” by the majority. That doesn’t make it wrong.

    I feel you need to answer the question you posed at the bottom of your post:-
    “What physical, emotional, and spiritual damage is done?”
    you didn’t specify, but suggested you had evidence (whilst also stating that people didn’t need evidence to know it was true…).
    If you can back up your claims please do so. Otherwise we are indeed at an impasse. I don’t believe homosexual behaviour is damaging, and know of no evidence to suggest such a thing. Hostility to homosexual behaviour *is*, however, damaging, and i feel the real problem in the fleet.

    All the best

    David

  • Bill Pratt

    David,
    It’s late and I cannot give you a full reply, but why in the world would you bring up that business about C.S. Lewis and sado-masochism? That was very disappointing. I don’t see how it contributed positively to our conversation at all. I’ll chalk this up to your feeling passionate about this issue and wanting to take a swipe. Fine, but let’s leave it behind.

    Good night,
    Bill

  • Bill Pratt

    One more point before I go to bed. You said, “I note your concern is not so much for those engaged in it (who are supposedly being damaged), but for “the rest of us” who will eventually ’suffer’ because of it (in some unspecified way).”

    This is a cheap shot. You don’t know me at all except through the words of this blog, which is a very limited medium. You’ve already claimed that I seem homophobic and now you’re saying I don’t care about gay people and the damage they may be doing to themselves. You are wrong on both counts.

    That is why discussing such personal issues is so difficult on a blog. Even mostly reasonable people, like you, can’t help but assign me hateful feelings and thoughts about gay people. Please stop assuming that I dislike or do not care about gay people. It is not true and I don’t appreciate your slipping these comments in to an otherwise constructive conversation.

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi David,
    I’m sorry I concluded your morality did not seem to include abstaining from behaviors that indirectly harm others. I stand corrected. The reason I came to that conclusion is because it seems to me that premarital sex, particularly in teenagers, can lead to contraction of STD’s, unwanted pregnancies, abortion, and emotional damage. These consequences all affect other people in the long run. I also don’t believe that married couples, for the most part, can have sex with multiple partners without serious consequences (e.g., jealousy leading to violence, contraction of STD’s, weakening of marital trust, breakdown of the marriage, etc.). Again, all of these consequences can have serious consequences for others.

    I take the act of sexual intimacy to be a very powerful and beautiful act, but one which needs boundaries around it, for the very reason that it is powerful and beautiful. If it was a trifling act, like choosing which socks to wear in the morning, then it wouldn’t need boundaries. These boundaries prevent us from hurting ourselves and others by our sexual activity. The ideal for sexual intimacy is one man and one woman in a committed marriage. Any sexual behavior outside of this is non-ideal and causes problems which not only harm the individuals but ripple through society.

    The sexual revolution of the 1960′s has given us increased divorce, increased single parenting, increased pornography, increased STD’s, and a whole host of societal ills that go along with these things. I have seen these consequences first hand and I have read study after study that documents these consequences. Any benefits we may have gained from expressing our sexual desires openly (instead of repressing them) have been dwarfed by the negative consequences that came along with those alleged benefits.

    Now to homosexual behavior in particular. You said, “I am aware that some homosexual people have problems, but this largely has to do with external intolerance of homosexuality; or of internal conflict between what someone has been raised to believe is ‘right’ and what their actual feelings are.”

    My question back to you is how in the world can you know that? It’s an interesting theory that probably has some truth attached to it, but aren’t you just guessing that this is the primary reason behind homosexual problems? As I mentioned above, when sexual activity veers from the ideal, bad things start to happen. So you have to at least admit that some of the problems you’ve seen in homosexuals may be attributed to their lifestyle itself, not the intolerance of society.

    A few years ago, I wanted to get to the bottom of this question, so I started reading several books on homosexuality. I wanted to know if there was empirical evidence that the homosexual lifestyle was damaging to those that practice it. The first book I read was Straight and Narrow: Compassion and Clarity in the Homosexuality Debate by Thomas E. Schmidt. This is where I suggest you start. Schmidt’s book contains a wealth of data collected from research on the gay lifestyle.

    His book documents high rates of promiscuity, inability to stay with one partner for any prolonged period of time, higher rates of alcohol and drug abuse than the rest of the population, higher rates of depression, higher rates of suicide, higher rates of pedophilia, damage to bodily organs caused by particular sexual practices, higher rates of STD’s, AIDS contraction, and higher rates of hepatitis.

    In summary, the gay lifestyle is a disaster for most of those who practice it. This book really opened my eyes to the destruction that occurs in the lives of many gay people. I cannot, after reading the research, wish anyone to engage in homosexual behavior. In my mind, it would be completely immoral for me to “live and let live” as I would be passively watching these precious children of God, made in his image, kill themselves. Even if you don’t think any of this research is correct, can you see my position? How can I be a promoter of this lifestyle?

    Bill

  • David Coultous

    Bill, I’m sorry if you think I am making a cheap shot, but I assure you I am not.
    i do not know you, nor do I pretend to. I can only comment on the words you write here (and vice versa).

    I just think it odd that, if christian opposition to homosexuality is based on the belief that it damages those engaged in it, that this is not then their primary concern (or rather the concern primarily stated).
    In most christian writing I have seen on the subject (including on this site), the primary stated concern is the supposed effect on society as a whole, not a concern for those most impacted by this supposed “damage”.

    To take an example of a behaviour I believe we both would regard as self-destructive : drug abuse (we’ll go with ‘hard’ drugs to ensure agreement). While anti-drug campaigns certainly address the societal effects of drug abuse, their primary (and primarily stated) concern is for the people whose lives are destoyed by drugs – the drug users themselves.
    I have to say, I don’t see this focus on primary ‘victims’ in the christian case, as presented, against homosexuality). Indeed, it took a few posts for you to tell me that your opposition was based on the belief that it damaged those engaged in it, and even then you said this in the context of this damage affecting those around them (the other ships).

    now i don’t know you, nor pretend to know what is going on in your head (or metaphoric ‘heart’), I can only comment on your words. I did not call you homophobic, I said that an argument you put forward appeared to be based on homophobia, and expressed the hope that it wasn’t. I have to be honest about my impressions don’t I?
    I also did not say you dislike or do not care about gay people. These are your words. I merely noted the stated concern in your post was not for gay people, but for “the rest of us”. This may be a contextual thing, but my question I guess is : why focus on this context?

    I am glad you find me “mostly reasonable” :-), but I am a little worried that you feel i am ‘assigning’ you ‘hateful feelings and thoughts about gay people’. I don’t, since i don’t know you. Similarly you don’t know me. I am sorry you don’t appreciate my ‘slipping in’ honest observations which you (honestly I’m sure) misinterpret as accusations.

    Peace

    David

  • David Coultous

    Bill,

    I am sorry you found this disappointing. I have no problem with Lewis’ sado-masochism. I think it is a shame he was so conflicted about it, but don’t think less of him for it. It was his business, noone else’s.

    The point, however, is that (as i understand it), this sort of thing was against the kind of sexual ‘morality’ he wrote about. When someone is writing about how people ‘should’ behave, it is instructive to see if they follow their own advice.

    Now, from all I have read, Lewis was an honest Christian and not a hypocrite. He believed he was ‘sinning’ and wanted to stop, but his will was not strong enough. I personally think this is a shame as I don’t agree with his view that he was doing ‘wrong’; and I beleive his conflict caused him much unneccessary unhappiness. You may feel differently about all this, of course, but please don’t think I was taking a swipe.

    Its just that often (but not always) those who talk about morality often do so, at least in part, because they are unhappy about something about themselves. A full analysis of Lewis’s views on morality has to take into account his internal conflicts on the subject.
    His good friend Tolkien (I am a big fan of both, incidentally), as far as can be made out, appears to have lived his life more or less as he believed it should be led. He noticeably spoke less about morality, except here and there in private correspondance.

    All the best

    David

  • Bill Pratt

    Peace indeed. All is well between us.

    You raise an interesting issue about both drug use and homosexual behavior. Why talk about the effects on the individual in one case and the effects on society in the other?

    In my case, it has to do with the audience for my comments. If I believed that there were gay folks coming to this blog and looking for an honest discussion about their lifestyle, a discussion that challenged them to live a different life, I would certainly address the topic of the damage to themselves with greater frequency. I don’t think, however, that they are reading this blog, at least not many of them. Any blog subtitled “Christian Apologetics” is not going to generally attract them, unfortunately.

    When I am writing posts about gay marriage, my target is people like you, who are heterosexual but think that there’s nothing wrong with the gay lifestyle. I am trying to convince you that there is another legitimate side to this argument. My second audience is those people who agree with me already, but who are unable to explain in clear terms why they hold the position. My posts help them to articulate what they believe and explain it to others. With both audiences, I appeal to the effects on children and society in general, as I believe this has broader public appeal.

    Another factor is my own cowardice. I know that if I write a post which explicitly lays out the damage that gay people do to themselves, I will be mercilessly attacked. I will be called every kind of horrible name one can conjure up. This topic really gets people’s blood boiling, so I tend to reserve this topic for smaller audiences and one-on-one conversations. I guess I feel like the topic is off-limits for a general blog post.

    I hope that explains a little bit where I’m coming from,
    Bill

  • Alex

    Bill, I share your gut feeling that a mom/dad household on a whole will produce more well-adjusted children, keeping in mind we have not defined “well-adjusted.”

    But consider this – if black/white relationships were still met with widespread public outrage, then it could be argued that white/white and black/black couples produce more well adjusted children. But, a large part of the black/white’s offspring not being as well adjusted would fall on the prejudices and mistreatment of them by their societies. The argument would be: we are going to mistreat them (black/white) and their families, so, let’s just not endorse (permit) it. Don’t you see the problem with using level of well being when the atmosphere itself is toxic and hostile?

    I would argue that your “adjustment” of children argument against gay marriage falls into this trap. You are against gay marriage (I suppose.) A LOT of people are vocally against it. Could this opposition affect their children and cause them to be less well-adjusted?
    Are you ready to love them and support them, and lead by example – in order to test how well-adjusted they can really become? I say this as a man who is not a Christian, and who has the same gut feeling that I think you have. But, I am trying to be my higher self. I hope you are too.

SEO Powered by Platinum SEO from Techblissonline