Gay Marriage and Natural Kinds

What does Aristotle have to do with same-sex marriage?
Aristotle held that the human race, in addition to being divided into male and female, was also divided into slave and free. This latter division was not merely conventional or legal; like the male-female division, it was a product of nature. Just as nature had made some humans male and others female, so it had made some free and others slave.
I mention this Aristotelian idea, not because I want to discuss slavery and freedom, but because I want address the idea that the human race can be divided up into what may be called “natural kinds.”
It’s an idea that has surfaced again and again in human history. Almost all ancient Greeks in Aristotle’s time, and for a few centuries earlier, believed that there was a difference in nature between Greeks and those they labeled “barbarians” — that is, all non-Greeks, whether living in a pre-civilized condition (like the Scythians of the north) or living in a highly civilized condition (like the Persians and Egyptians). And this was not just a distinction in kind, it was also a distinction in rank: Nature ranked Greeks above barbarians. Greeks were superior by nature, barbarians inferior.
With only very rare exceptions, a distinction of natural kinds has always been seen as a distinction in rank between superior and inferior. Throughout the centuries, scholars may have said, “The X people are different from us because they have a different religion or different environmental circumstances or a different education,” but most regular people, it is safe to say, would think, “The X people are different from us because nature (or God, the author of nature) has made them different — and made them inferior as well.”
Modernization, the Enlightenment, and the growth of democracy brought a welcome decline in the idea that the human race is divided into natural kinds. “All men are created equal” — this was the new belief that was sweeping the world, and for much of the 19th century it looked as though this new belief would prevail. But it suffered a tremendous setback as the old natural-kind theory underwent a tremendous revival in the aftermath of the Darwinian revolution in biology.
A theory of nature-made human “races” emerged and became popular, especially in the countries of northwestern Europe and the United States. At first this theory was the property of gentlemanly pseudo-scientists, who used the theory to justify, for example, the social supremacy of whites over blacks, or of Englishmen over the Irish, or of Europeans generally over the peoples of Africa and Asia. But before long the theory fell into the hands of some exceedingly un-gentlemanly people, including Hitler and his fellow Nazis. The Holocaust followed, almost as a kind of logical conclusion from the theory.
In the decades since the horror of the Nazi episode, the world has turned away not just from race theories but from the whole idea that the (one and only) human race can be divided into different natural kinds. This is true even in the single case in which nature really has made an obvious and undeniable difference — as in the difference between men and women. Traditionally, this difference in kind implied a difference in rank: Nature, it was believed, made men superior and women inferior.
But we have now rejected this difference in rank. While we acknowledge that men and women have natural differences, we now insist that they are equal in rank. And we have adopted what may be called a “minimalist” idea of the natural difference between the two. No longer do we hold that women are by nature unsuited for certain careers or activities.
Yet at this moment, when the theory of natural kinds is on the verge of being thrown into the dustbin of history, along comes the gay-rights movement with its insistence that the human race is divided by nature into heterosexuals and homosexuals (not to mention bisexuals and transgender people). It is this argument that justifies the movement’s demand for same-sex marriage. Gays and lesbians, it is argued, being different kinds of human beings, cannot be expected to conform to the form of marriage that has been established in response to the needs of the heterosexual kind of human being. A different form of marriage must be created in order to respond to the needs of a different kind of human being.
Supporters of the gay movement often argue that there is a strict analogy between the ban on same-sex marriage and the earlier ban in some American states of interracial marriage. But the analogy is far from strict. The ban on black-white marriage would make sense if we believed that blacks and whites are different kinds of human being. But since we have decided that they are not different kinds, the ban on interracial marriage makes no sense. Yet the promoters of same-sex marriage make an argument that is the inverse of this: Since homosexuals are, they say, a different kind of human being, the ban on same-sex marriage makes no sense.
I am unable to see the future of human society, so I am unwilling to make predictions. But I cannot avoid the ominous feeling that this reversion to the old, pernicious, and almost dead theory of natural kinds is something that we may all — and I include in this “all” homosexual activists themselves — eventually come to rue.

By

David R. Carlin Jr. is a politician and sociologist who served as a Democratic majority leader of the Rhode Island Senate. His books include "Can a Catholic Be a Democrat?: How the Party I Loved Became the Enemy of My Religion" and "The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in America." Carlin is a current professor of sociology and philosophy at the Community College of Rhode Island at Newport.

  • Sid

    Aristotle said slavery to be natural for those whom today we would call the retarded, inasmuch as the retarded cannot achieve the telos, the end, that humans are by nature oriented, the life of reason. He strongly objected to slavery as it was practiced in our culture, and he would have opposed slavery as it was practiced in the West from the 15th C onwards.

  • Sid

    I hasten to add that I don’t support slavery for anyone.

  • Frank Z. Riely, Jr.

    Mr. Carlin,

    I’m confused by your article.

    Isn’t it true that the Catholic Church does hold women to be unsuited for certain kinds of work, i.e. being priests, by virtue of their different natures?

    Certainly our laws dealing with discrimination against blacks, women and the disabled implicitly recognize that the differences among people–at least in their experiences in our society–can be significant.

    So, unless you are arguing against the views of the Church on women in the priesthood or against anti-discrimination laws, I think you need to explain why its just the homosexual difference that shouldn’t matter.

  • gsk

    This is a terribly interesting argument, David. Thank you. That said, I have two quibbles. The first is about whether gays want marriage, which they may not. I suspect that their end game is simply to blow the institution apart as a major repressive element of a patriarchy, which insists on controlling the sexual lives of others. (Read their material, such hyperbole is common.) Secondly, the same-sex crowd is very much against “labels” and “boxes,” noting that sexual preferences waft whimsically along a slippery scale on any given day, with no need to nail anyone down to any given “ism.” Thus, the UN has at present come to recognise five “genders” which are vague and subject to personal random shifts.

    If the uber-free-love crowd had any categories, I think they would consist of the sexual-sophisticates who see the body as solely a means of unbridled pleasure/lust and those repressive boobs who insist on trying to make rules. Other than that dichotomy, I think the enemy we fight is as much in the realm of nominalism as any other.

  • John Brown

    There are a number of fallacies in the author’s line of reasoning, one building on the last in a seemingly reasonable framework, as each mis-step is not that egregious or even noticeable unless one looks closely. The author sets up two separate straw man arguments, uses the first one to build a second one, whith which he “refutes” a bogus alleged argument for same-sex marriage. Along the way there are some glib redefinitions of his terms. All in all, a polished effort, worthy of Rush Limbaugh.

    This is the first straw man:

    “…along comes the gay-rights movement with its insistence that the human race is divided by nature into heterosexuals and homosexuals (not to mention bisexuals and transgender people).”

    True so far.

    “It is this argument that justifies the movement’s demand for same-sex marriage.” [not true] “Gays and lesbians, it is argued, being different kinds of human beings, …”

    Different kinds? What happened to ‘of a different nature’? This is an example of sublte redefinition of terms a la Three Card Monty. A la Limbaugh.

    “… cannot be expected to conform to the form of marriage that has been established in response to the needs of the heterosexual kind of human being.” [farther and farther from the truth’ “A different form of marriage must be created in order to respond to the needs of a different kind of human being.”

    A different form of marriage is not what people want. They want to practice the same form of marriage as anyone else — a sacred union between two loving people who want to share the rest of their lives together and possibly raise children.

    This is the second straw man:

    “The ban on black-white marriage would make sense if we believed that blacks and whites are different kinds of human being.”

    No, it wouldn’t. It would never make sense because it offends the very most basic principles of human decency. Here the author shows the bigotry at the root of anti-gay arguments attempting to masquerade themselves as logic.

    “But since we have decided that they are not different kinds, the ban on interracial marriage makes no sense.”

    It makes perfect sense, in part because that is not the basis for whether it makes sense or not, the author’s claim notwithstanding. It makes sense because of the Constitution’s guarantee of equal rights to all citizens.

    “Yet the promoters of same-sex marriage make an argument that is the inverse of this: Since homosexuals are, they say, a different kind of human being, the ban on same-sex marriage makes no sense.”

    Again, “they” don’t say they are different kinds and need a different kind of marriage, the author claims “they” say that. He claims “they” all say that.

    And then he blames others for his rhetorical malfeasance:

    “I am unable to see the future of human society, so I am unwilling to make predictions. But I cannot avoid the ominous feeling that this reversion to the old, pernicious, and almost dead theory of natural kinds is something that we may all — and I include in this ‘all’ homosexual activists themselves — eventually come to rue.”

    You, sir, are the one reverting to the old, pernicious, and almost dead theory of natural kinds. I’ve not heard anyone else putting forward the argument you present here that you attribute to “the gay-rights movement” — the entire gay rights movement? — as though they speak with one voice. And you don’t, of course, quote anyone specific or cite any sources or references, but rather conveniently hide behind the passive voice. “It is argued…” All in all, weak. Glib and slick, but very weak.

  • John Brown

    “But since we have decided that they are not different kinds, the ban on interracial marriage makes no sense.”

  • Richard Simmons, Ellen Degeneres

    If the uber-free-love crowd had any categories, I think they would consist of the sexual-sophisticates who see the body as solely a means of unbridled pleasure/lust and those repressive boobs who insist on trying to make rules.

    Thank you for demonstrating the intelligence inherent in your stereotype of all homosexuals as “the uber-free-love crowd.” This kind of bigotry is what’s standing in the path of social progress in our society. I’ll not lay the blame at the door of “Catholics,” because I don’t want to assume you are one, and even if you are, I know from personal experience that this kind of narrow judgmental opinionation is in the minority among that flock. A shrinking minority. Jesus would weep again if he read some of the homophobic posts here in blogville. Go read Matthew 9, my brother. Or sister. Don’t want to assume and stereotype like some people.

  • Stupefied

    Proposition 8a state referendum in California opposing gay marriage passed.
    Analysis of the results revealed that African Americans, Hispanics and Asian Americans were largely responsible for the passage of the measure.
    These voting groups also voted for Obama.
    The message: Economic and ethnic issues are not synonymous hot button social issues.Should the Catholic church not pay more attention to the former?????????

  • August Driscoll

    A different form of marriage is not what people want. They want to practice the same form of marriage as anyone else — a sacred union between two loving people who want to share the rest of their lives together and possibly raise children.

    Mr. Brown,

    Two people of the same sex cannot possible have the kind of union a man and woman experience in marrige. This needs no explanation, it’s simple biology.

  • Bender

    Isn’t it true that the Catholic Church does hold women to be unsuited for certain kinds of work, i.e. being priests, by virtue of their different natures?

    No, it isn’t true that the Church holds women to be “unsuited.” I suggest you go back and read what the Church DOES teach regarding the priesthood.

  • Kevin

    Proposition 8a state referendum in California opposing gay marriage passed.
    Analysis of the results revealed that African Americans, Hispanics and Asian Americans were largely responsible for the passage of the measure.
    These voting groups also voted for Obama.
    The message: Economic and ethnic issues are not synonymous hot button social issues.Should the Catholic church not pay more attention to the former?????????

    At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Stupefied, the Catholic Church should pay attention to the salvation of souls by proclaiming the Truth and calling people to live it. In your posts, you persist in viewing Holy Mother Church as a political instrument to address social justice needs rather than as the universal Church Christ founded to proclaim Truth throughout all time. The political and social actions of the members of the Church should adhere to all the Church teaches, of course, but that is hardly the highest calling of our faith or the primary reason for the Church’s work on Earth.

  • Robertz

    “The ban on black-white marriage would make sense if we believed that blacks and whites are different kinds of human being.” — David Carlin

    No, it wouldn’t. It would never make sense because it offends the very most basic principles of human decency. Here the author shows the bigotry at the root of anti-gay arguments attempting to masquerade themselves as logic.

    So you are saying something never makes sense (even if a certain group feels that it does) if it offends the basic principles of human decency. Acts of homosexuality, not to be confused with the inclination of homosexuality, offends the basic principles of human decency. Biologically, the human body is not designed in such a capacity for two people of the same gender and can only result in harm. To behave like it is, is to mock the human decency and dignity of the human body, and by relation the person as a whole. Marriage exists to support of the procreation of the human race. This requires one of each of the 2 genders. To allow people of the same gender to get ‘married’, the definition would have to be changed. This means the creation of a different kind of civil marriage to replace the one that exists.

    A marriage is not needed for deep close friendships and love of our fellow human beings of the same gender. Sex is not the same as love, but a selfless act of love for the creation of new life. The only difference in a marriage and platonic relationship, is for the support of true sexual intercourse and the resulting children. A marriage is not for the couple, but the family (and thereby society). A marriage can only exist with consummation. To want to get married implies the intention to try to have sexual intercourse, whether it is anatomically possible or not. If marriage is redefined to include people of the same gender, by definition there would be no reason for civil government to continue support of marriage at all as it would no longer be an institution for the good of society (but for that of lust.) And homosexuals can’t say in good conscience that they are doing it for the children; if that were true same-sex marriage would be no concern for them. They have the same equal rights of marriage by law as what heterosexuals have now. Heterosexuals are restricted to people of the opposite gender also, and those of the homosexual inclination are still able to marry those of the opposite gender (we’re still only concerned for the children, right?). It can only be concluded that homosexuals do not need to fight to change the definition of civil marriage, except maybe for reasons of spite and/or greater acceptance of their lust. Homosexual ‘marriage’ does not make sense, whether you think so or not.

  • Robertz

    Hmm, at the moment it looks like the quote at the beginning of my post got a bit messed up. My words start with “So you are saying…”

  • gsk

    Richard and Ellen, darlings, could you tell me what you think the body is for and if there should be any constraints on sexual “expression?”

    You’re quick at name calling but a little slow in providing an actual argument to explain what I got wrong.

  • Robert Mosby

    The conversation exhibits misunderstanding of Aristotle and natural kinds and this is not a mere quibble as I hope to show.

    The notion of natural kinds is a biological correlate to the theory of Forms in its Aristotlean methphysico-epistemic-logico (MEP) role in his reaction to Plato. Plato had (at least at one point) posited the Forms as eternally existent and higher “things” that could be objects of real knowledge as opposed to material things that could only ever be objects of opinion.

    In an early and better use of Occkham’s razor than which its Franciscan namesake was capable,, Ari argued that such separation was unworkable and unnecessary: that form and matter were inextricably intertwined in subsistent objects. Because of this, objects even in the natural world could indeed be objects of knowledge, not merely of opinion. So far, incidentally, very Catholic, I’d say.

    To the best of my recollection, his distinction between free men and slaves was not related to this useful MEP distinction. Rather it was used to explain to the moral characters of individuals.

    These individuals were either free or slave but not according to a formal nature. He saw the slaves as being unable to think clearly for themselves as well as unable to act virtuously, i.e., to act morally out of habit. Now such a theory might be perverted to justify all sorts of politiccal theories but it is itself a philosophical anthropology of undoubted acuity.

    Disputes about the root of homosexual tendencies center on whether they arise out of nature or out of some kind of habit. Disputes about homosexual acts on the other hand tend to focus on whether they violate nature and hence are sinful.

  • John Brown

    A different form of marriage is not what people want. They want to practice the same form of marriage as anyone else — a sacred union between two loving people who want to share the rest of their lives together and possibly raise children.

    Mr. Brown, Two people of the same sex cannot possible have the kind of union a man and woman experience in marrige. This needs no explanation, it’s simple biology.

    If you read my post more closely you might see that I’m talking about a spiritual and emotional union, not a “simple biological” one. People can raise kids without both being the biological parents. Heterosexual couples, where only one or neither parent is the biological parent, do it all the time.

  • August Driscoll

    A different form of marriage is not what people want. They want to practice the same form of marriage as anyone else — a sacred union between two loving people who want to share the rest of their lives together and possibly raise children.

    Mr. Brown, Two people of the same sex cannot possible have the kind of union a man and woman experience in marrige. This needs no explanation, it’s simple biology.

    If you read my post more closely you might see that I’m talking about a spiritual and emotional union, not a “simple biological” one. People can raise kids without both being the biological parents. Heterosexual couples, where only one or neither parent is the biological parent, do it all the time.

    But my point was that homosexual relationships are different in kind from the marital relationship between a man and woman. And I would ask the editors to please correct the above quotes that attribute Mr. Brown’s statements to me, and vice versa.

  • John Brown

    A different form of marriage is not what people want. They want to practice the same form of marriage as anyone else — a sacred union between two loving people who want to share the rest of their lives together and possibly raise children.

    Mr. Brown, Two people of the same sex cannot possible have the kind of union a man and woman experience in marrige. This needs no explanation, it’s simple biology.

    If you read my post more closely you might see that I’m talking about a spiritual and emotional union, not a “simple biological” one. People can raise kids without both being the biological parents. Heterosexual couples, where only one or neither parent is the biological parent, do it all the time.

    But my point was that homosexual relationships are different in kind from the marital relationship between a man and woman. And I would ask the editors to please correct the above quotes that attribute Mr. Brown’s statements to me, and vice versa.

    My apologies. Don’t know how it happened — it wasn’t intentional. The problem is there’s no Preview function here, and it’s bloody hard to proofread pseudo-HTML code.

  • John Brown

    I would ask the editors to please correct the above quotes that attribute Mr. Brown’s statements to me, and vice versa.

    Okay, I tried it again, and as you can see, it happened again, and all I did was to click on quote to requote your entire last post, ending with the above sentence. It got all the names reversed. I hope the editors will look into this. Thank you for your civilized discourse. Peace out.

  • Liberace & Ross the Intern

    Richard and Ellen, darlings, could you tell me what you think the body [um, living and dying??]is for and if there should be any constraints on sexual “expression?” [consenting adults; no harm, no foul]

    You’re quick at name calling but a little slow in providing an actual argument to explain what I got wrong.

    I called you no names. I only addressed your post, no references to you personally. Except to call you brother/sister. If that offended you, I apologize most humbly.

    Now don’t take this personally either, but I’m not going to debate any of this or anything else further with you because I consider debating anything with someone who has his mind made up, as amply evidenced by your post, to be a supreme exercise in futility.

  • Ann

    If I’m reading this correctly, it sounds like a “slippery slope” argument.

    Honestly, I don’t get the objection to civil gay marriage. Let me preface that with the fact that I do believe that people are born gay, and that makes a difference in my opinion on the whole thing.

    I really don’t get how civil gay marriage hurts marriage as we know it today (man and woman). I think we have done enough damage to the institution of marriage ourselves, thank you very much, what with all the divorce and adultery…

    Of course, no one should make a church marry gays if it is against the church’s beliefs.

  • Brian Saint-Paul

    Okay, I tried it again, and as you can see, it happened again, and all I did was to click on quote to requote your entire last post, ending with the above sentence. It got all the names reversed. I hope the editors will look into this. Thank you for your civilized discourse. Peace out.

    Hi guys,

    I fixed the quotes. For some reason, the site software gets the quote order reversed. I’m adding it to our growing fix-list…

  • Adriana

    When I was young it was believed that if you slapped a child’s hand when it reached with his left hand, you could cure him and make him normal.

    It did not work, but it certainly traumatized the child, being punished for no reason that he could undestand.

    At least left-handers were not burned at the stake, as they were at some time, because they might be in league with the Devil.

    The idea that you can punish people or exhort them to go against a natural characteristic that they were born with and over which they have no more control than color-blind people can tell red from green is called “Magical Thinking”, and can cause a lot of mischief.

    When you can through punishment or exhortation grow back a missing limb, then the argument might have value.

    There *are* different kinds of people. There are the sighted and there are the blind. There are the deaf, and there those who can hear. There are the lame, and there are the full bodied. There are wooden-eared people (like me), and there are those who can write sublime music. I cannot sing to save my own life, therefore I am of a different kind than Placido Domingo. I am able-bodied while Stephen Hawkins is far from it.

    There is nothing wrong in saying that people are “different”, that they have different abilites, and inclinations, and that sometimes those differences keep them from doing certain things.

    Inferiority is assumed when those of a certain kind presume to tell those of another kind what *they* should like or not like, do or not do. The complaint that women have with the Catholic Church is not saying that women are differnet from men, but that the Church hyerarchy, all men, tells women what the can or cannot do. While there is no similar hyerarchy of women telling men that, being men, they can or not do certian things.

    I accept the difference. I do not accept being ordered about.

    As for homosexuals, they cannot certainly enter a heterosexual marriage, not without causing suffering to their heterosexual partner. If they are to be free of a promiscuous, empty life, then they should be able to form a stable and responsible relationship. It *is* to the interest of the State that its citizens adopt a responsible way of living (it amused me during the debate of gays in the military that while people were in arms at the idea of gays taking seriously the responsiblity of defending their country, none of them complianed of them taking seriously the responsibility of paying taxes – but I guess that the IRS has more sense than to say that someone is too sinful to contribute to the Treasury…)

  • August Driscoll

    The idea that you can punish people or exhort them to go against a natural characteristic that they were born with and over which they have no more control than color-blind people can tell red from green is called “Magical Thinking”, and can cause a lot of mischief.

    Adriana,

    Would you characterize all human impulses as instincts people were born with? And would this mean there is no such thing as right and wrong with regards to human action?

    Moral relativism is intellectually dishonest. You are exhorting a whole lot of people who read this site to go against their natural instincts and accept something they know to be wrong. So I suppose you do believe in right and wrong and telling others how to think.

  • Pamela

    Saint Thomas Aquinas defines heresy as “a species of infidelity in men who, having professed the faith of Christ, corrupt its dogmas

  • R.C.

    Some errant notions exist in modernity which handicap our ability to discuss this topic fruitfully; among them are:

    1. That anyone is 100% gay or straight as regards their usual predispositions;

    2. That most peoples’ usual predispositions are so inflexible as to not bend (in either direction, but apropos of this topic, we need only mention the homosexual direction) under the weight of circumstances, habituation, acculturation, and hormone imbalances during certain stages of prenatal development and/or puberty.

    3. That orgasm is not a strong habituating “reward”;

    4. That the adrenaline rush associated with risky and/or illicit sexuality does not provide a potent assistance to habituation, especially among addiction-prone personalities;

    5. That the formation of purely homosexual preferences can be clinically distinguished, as regards the biological and psychological mechanisms involved, from fetishism;

    6. That the mere fact that it is probably too injurious to personal liberty to allow the state to prosecute private homosexual acts between consenting adults means that such acts are not at least as immoral as an alcoholic’s “bender”;

    7. That the mere fact that the fetish for same-sex encounters is hard to cure (like other fetishes are) and sometimes makes arousal in any normal form impossible (like other fetishes can) renders it both incurable and irresistible;

    8. That life experience plays no role in forming the patterns of sexual attraction;

    9. That technology has given us any more useful information about homosexual attraction than earlier societies had, or that our knowing more would make any difference as to morality in relation to it;

    10. That there is a genetic basis for homosexual attraction (as opposed to, say, a developmental, environmental, psychological, or habituated basis to which one may be genetically more susceptible).

    All those items are wrong, and demonstrably so, but discussions of morality and civil law in regard to those who practice illicit sex are fraught with arguments based on them.

    Knowing that these items are false, we can see that the fact that homosexual attraction can be partially (or even largely) caused by biological susceptibility does not alter the demands of Christian morality or the best interests of civil society a whit.

    Even the fact that once ingrained it is as difficult to alter as alcoholism or methamphetamine addiction (and biochemically for many of the same reasons) is irrelevant to the practice Christian morality or the best interests of civil society. Compassion for those with this addiction is called for; well, Christian morality has always said that. The fact that more sex addicts and fetishists fall into the “high functioning” category than meth addicts do is something to be thankful for; it isn’t however something that means we should be enablers for the addict.

    So getting past these errors of thought is the first step to useful discussion. Prior to that step, one stands in darkness, unable to see the situation.

    Ironically, it’s a lot like being locked in a closet; we hope “Richard and Ellen,” et alia, will let us know when/if they ever come out.

  • meg

    Thirty years ago, it was decided marriage was no longer necessary – just a piece of paper, why do we need that to prove our love and commitment? Today, it is commonplace for people to live together without marrying, not a big issue for most. Almost half the babies born are born out of wedlock according to some statistics.

    Why is marriage suddenly so important? Because now that marriage is finally stomped into the ground – seen by many as unnecessary, divorce rates have soared, even for many Catholics it’s no longer thought of as a sacrament, much less a vocation -the time is ripe. What should be seen as an American tragedy is instead being used as a window of opportunity.

    This can be seen most obviously in Massachusetts: once it was legalized, it was quickly included in some public schools as part of the curriculum, starting with first grade through the use of modern fairy tales – childrens books depicting 2 kings falling in love and marrying, etc. Parents who requested notification so they could opt out were told no, it was now legal, so there was no opt out. Period. One of the reasons stated was that if children were leaving the classroom during this time, the self esteem of children of homosexuals might be negatively impacted. Right-thinking Catholics need no explanation as to the flawed logic behind this concept.

    There is an agenda. It isn’t about marriage.

  • Dale O’Leary

    There is no scientific evidence that persons with same-sex attraction are born that way. If they were then identical twins would virtually always be identical in sexual attraction. Several studies have found that only around 11% of the time if one identical twin has SSA so does the other. While each individual with SSA has his or her own life story, there are certain common features in many of these which point to early childhood experiences as crucial in the later development of SSA. SSA is preventable and can change.
    Two persons of the same-sex lack the physical and psychological complementarity necessary to enter into a true marriage. They cannot complete the one act which consummates a marriage. They cannot conceive a child in a mutal act of love who is biologically jointly theirs. Any child in the custody of a same-sex couple has been separated from one or both biological parents. Separation from one or both biological parents is a tragedy. When a same-sex couple conceive a permanently and purposefully fatherless or motherless child, they are acting against the best interests of the child. What is saddest is that the child is not allowed to freely express his or her feelings of loss and the couple denies the harm they have done.

  • R.C.

    Dale,

    There is no scientific evidence that persons with same-sex attraction are born that way.

    No, there isn’t, as of yet. And it’s hard to imagine, in the current politically-correct climate when the research and studies required to generate valid evidence either way are made necessarily taboo, that there ever will be.

    However, be cautious in asserting “there’s no evidence” as a debating-point.

    First, because that evidence could always crop up somehow. Despite the venomous climate, somebody could manage to do some sound science on the topic, and produce some meaningful and reproducible data.

    Second, because there is circumstantial reason to think a biological process is involved. Gay kinesics, speech patterns, the notion of “gaydar”: These are all based on stereotypes and caricatures, and are unreliable, but y’know, stereotypes don’t come out of nowhere. Why do a reasonable proportion (a majority? a large minority?) of gay men move that way, talk that way, think that way? Are such things more usually influenced by habit or biology? Is there then an association with their sexual proclivities, or are these unrelated phenomena? These are open questions.

    Third, because other types of gender identity issues are associated with hormone deprivation/overload during two stages of development (puberty and prenatal) and one of those (prenatal) produces changes early enough to fit the description “born that way.” Even testes that don’t descend until puberty (it’s more common in the third world where blood testing is absent: after ten years as a girl, suddenly Juanita turns out to be Juan) are instructive of the role of hormones in physiological changes — and some of those changes happen in the brain.

    And, finally, you should be careful about asserting “there’s no evidence…” because it doesn’t matter if there is, or not!

    Nobody should give a frog’s fat fanny if “they’re born that way” or not, because it doesn’t have any role in the debate about whether gay relations are moral or immoral, good for society or bad, honoring to God or dishonoring, equatable to marriage or not.

    Since these questions are utterly disconnected from the cause of a sexual fetish (biological or otherwise), you do your argument no good (and potentially some harm) by associating the two.

    (First, because it looks like you haven’t thought the matter through, and second, because if the evidence — or even something that someone claims is evidence, which is more likely in this emotional and politically complicated debate — does appear, then everyone concludes, “oh, well, that guy who said there was no evidence was wrong, so we can now disregard him.” Rhetorically, it’s a bit late for you to then say, “Actually, nevermind about the “evidence” issue, ’cause it turns out that that’s irrelevant.” By then, no one’s listening.)

  • DC

    What about gay people who are not Catholic? Why should they live according to Catholic constructs.

    How EXACTLY does two gay people getting married make any difference to the people down the street, or across the country?
    Be specific, there has to a harm to you personally and not some non-specified others caused by them being married. (They already live together and exist so you can’t clain that.)

    In MA, they have been getting married for several years, nobody even notices it. Who has been harmed by this? Provide names of injured parties please. Organized opposition to gay marraige in MA is now very low, and MA has the LOWEST divore rate in the country.

    No churches are forced to paticipate. It is simply none of our business.

    Its a matter of equal access to rights afforded to married straight married couples.

    If it requires “evidence” of being natural occurence then that stardard will have to applied to everything else.

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