Meaningful, Open, and Honest Discussion (April 26, 2005)
Meaningful, Open and Honest Discussion: In the discussion of same-sex marriage there have been articulate speeches, strong rhetoric, and emotional pleas, yet some listening may question the substance of what has been spoken and what they have heard. Has the question, why is gay marriage a civil right and denying it is discrimination been definitively answered? At the same time, many of those opposing this change in the definition of marriage are failing in their part of the discussion in that they are not asking those advocating for this change to support and defend their position.
Those advocating for same-sex marriage are talking and trying to compare it to bi-racial marriage, slavery, and women’s right to vote. They go on to say that in the future when same-sex marriage becomes commonplace in society will look back on this debate and wonder why it was so controversial at the time it was being debated. Yet at the same time it is very difficult to have a meaningful, open, and honest discussion today while the debate is going on.
I too want to speak about the future. My concern is that if same-sex marriage becomes as commonplace as those advocating for it hope, what will happen if society understands it was not right to legally sanction same-sex marriage after all. And must undo what was done. There is historical precedence for this when we look at other behaviors that were once socially accepted and approved, then were later to be understood and accepted as otherwise.
To help bring about a meaningful, open, and honest discussion listed below is a series of questions followed by brief answers.
· Who is advocating for change?
· Is the discussion one of legally sanctioning relationships or behavior?
The case for the latter is much stronger.
· Who is a homosexual/gay/lesbian?
An individual who self-identifies by behavior or the things one does. A gay male and lesbian female identity has political connotations.
· How does one become a homosexual?
There are multiple pathways that may lead one into pursuing homosexual behavior. Homosexuals in their numerous articles and books acknowledge one is not born a homosexual. For this reason, it may be reasonably argued that it is not a rights issue. This is also why no court (state or federal) has granted homosexuals suspect class status. Likewise, for this reason it will be unlikely for courts to rule on the basis of equal protection and due process. Homosexuality is not an innate trait.
· What is homosexuality?
Homosexuality is a relationship issue. It is an illegitimate attempt to meet the legitimate need for same-sex intimacy. Physical sexual acts are often added to or substituted for those relational acts needed as a part of same-sex intimacy in relationships.
· What about former homosexuals/ex-gays?
There are individuals who overcome homosexuality and they do so in multiple ways. But what is of great interest are those individuals who choose to continue to self-identify as gay or lesbian but have as their objects of sexual activity members of the opposite sex. The following are examples of such people who have made public declarations. JoAnn Loulan was a prominent lesbian activist in the seventies and eighties who met and fell in love with a man in the late nineties, and even appeared on a 20/20 television episode in 1998. Jan Clausen also a lesbian activist writes in two of her books Beyond Gay or Straight, Apples and Oranges of a sexual relationship with a man. This latter book is autobiographical. She began a long-term monogamous relationship with a man in 1987. In England Russell T. Davies wrote Queer as Folk and also wrote for British TV the show Bob and Rose airing in September 2001. This second show is about a gay man who falls in love with a woman and has a sexual relationship with her. This series was based on a friend of Davies’, Thomas, who was well known in the Manchester, England gay scene. Bert Archer who identifies as a gay male in his book, The End of Gay (and the Death of Heterosexuality), writes of his sexual relationship with a woman. He also gives examples of other gay men who have similar experiences.
There is more material at www.banap.net to give additional information to support the brief answers provided to these questions. Most of the information on this site is from journal articles and books by those advocating for homosexuality and those who self-identify as homosexual. You will be reading the words that they have written and published. Included on banap.net is a lengthy bibliography of over 375 sources. In addition to information on same-sex marriage there is material from a historical perspective on homosexuality, Inventing the Homosexual. I have included my story of overcoming homosexuality and there are links to newspaper articles. The most recent addition is a section with one article on helping others to overcome homosexuality. There will be additional articles added to that section. The website was first posted in March of 2004, it is receiving 1800 visits each month and is on track to have received 10,000 visits by the end of April 2005. This website is an excellent resource for not only discussing same-sex marriage, but also for other issues involved with legislative action that will come before you, such as education and medical legislation.