Dohiyi Mir
    In Which NTodd Says His Peace

Thursday, July 31, 2003
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The War On Homosexuality

Not quite a declaration of war yet, but this is what Bush said in his news conference yesterday:

QUESTION: Thank you, sir. Mr. President, many of your supporters believe that homosexuality is immoral. They believe that it's been given too much acceptance in policy terms and culturally. As someone who's spoken out in strongly moral terms, what's your view on homosexuality?

BUSH: Yes, I am mindful that we're all sinners. And I caution those who may try to take the speck out of the neighbor's eye when they've got a log in their own.

I think it's very important for our society to respect each individual, to welcome those with good hearts, to be a welcoming country.

On the other hand, that does not mean that somebody like me needs to compromise on an issue such as marriage. And that's really where the issue is headed here in Washington, and that is the definition of marriage. I believe in the sanctity of marriage. I believe a marriage is between a man and a woman. And I think we ought to codify that one way or the other. And we've got lawyers looking at the best way to do that.

Got that? We're all sinners, and Bush equates gayness with sinfulness. And now he's looking at how to codify what marriage is. Now I seem to recall reading something somewhere about a wall of separation between Church and State...where did I see that? That's right, it was on some stuff I saw in the shredded paper pile at the DOJ.

If we respect each individual, then we must respect each individual's right to love whomever they choose. Does your faith have a problem with that? Fine, but the State should not be mucking around with what is inherently a religious issue. As Howard Dean rightly observes, there is a distinction between the civil rights at stake and the religious institution of marriage. Certainly these two have traditionally been intertwined, but it's time for them to be separated.

Dubya has a new ally in this war on gay terror. That's right, the Vatican has weighed in on the most important issue of the age:

Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law.
Nonetheless, according to the teaching of the Church, men and women with homosexual tendencies "must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided". They are called, like other Christians, to live the virtue of chastity. The homosexual inclination is however "objectively disordered" and homosexual practices are "sins gravely contrary to chastity".
The scope of the civil law is certainly more limited than that of the moral law, but civil law cannot contradict right reason without losing its binding force on conscience. Every humanly-created law is legitimate insofar as it is consistent with the natural moral law, recognized by right reason, and insofar as it respects the inalienable rights of every person. Laws in favour of homosexual unions are contrary to right reason because they confer legal guarantees, analogous to those granted to marriage, to unions between persons of the same sex.
It might be asked how a law can be contrary to the common good if it does not impose any particular kind of behaviour, but simply gives legal recognition to a de facto reality which does not seem to cause injustice to anyone. In this area, one needs first to reflect on the difference between homosexual behaviour as a private phenomenon and the same behaviour as a relationship in society, foreseen and approved by the law, to the point where it becomes one of the institutions in the legal structure. This second phenomenon is not only more serious, but also assumes a more wide-reaching and profound influence, and would result in changes to the entire organization of society, contrary to the common good.

Glad we cleared that up. Sounds like the Pope just fleshes out what Bush was saying. How nice that we must accept the queers, but do note that being gay is "objectively" pro-Saddam, uh...disordered. So disordered, in fact, that creating a civil law that recognizes gay rights will be contrary to the common good. How do we know it will be contrary to the common good? Because it will result in changes to our society, contrary to the common good. Simple logic: P implies P. QED.

Unfortunately, there are signs of backlash in our country, which is why I'm sure Dubya is looking to squash gay rights:

Americans' acceptance of the concept that "homosexual relations between consenting adults" should be legal had -- up until this month -- slowly increased, from a low point of 32% recorded in 1986 to the high point of 60% this May. But two separate Gallup polls conducted this month show a dramatic reversal of this trend. A July 18-20 poll found 50% of Americans saying that homosexual relations should be legal, and a just completed July 25-27 poll confirms the substantial drop in support, with just 48% of those interviewed saying such relations should be legal.
Why has support for gay rights dropped so significantly in the space of just two months? There is no way of ascertaining the answer to this question directly, but it is clear that the major intervening gay rights issue occurring between the May poll and the current one was the June 26 Supreme Court decision that struck down an anti-sodomy law in Texas that had banned sex between two consenting adults of the same gender. Thus, it is reasonable to hypothesize that the court decision, coupled with highly publicized discussions of the ruling's potential impact, may have been a major factor in the shift in the public's attitudes.
[T]he new polling data suggest a backlash. The discussion that followed the Supreme Court decision focused in part on whether it would increase the possibility of legalized gay marriage and other, more formal, reductions of the distinction between heterosexual and homosexual relations in society.
[I]t may be that Americans -- formerly willing to accept the concept of gay rights -- have been pushed to more conservative positions by the intense focus on the potential for dramatic future change in American society. Or it could be that the intense and vocal opposition to the liberalization of gay rights that surfaced after the decision has activated what had been more dormant conservative attitudes within the American population.

Time for a courageous leader to step up and guarantee gays their civil rights, despite the public's attitudes. We had the very same issue in Vermont, when two-thirds of Vermonters were against even the idea of civil unions, let alone gay marriage. Yet the legislature did the right thing, Governor Dean signed the law, and our state has continued to survive the past few years.

I like Dean's position in the national debate: let states decide if they want to sanction full-blown marriage, or domestic partnership or civil unions. The only Federal role would be to guarantee equal protection under the law and a fundamental recognition of the rights that homosexuals, as all Americans, deserve. No church has to marry queer couples, but the State must protect their rights. It's that simple.


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A non-violent, counter-dominant, left-liberal, possibly charismatic, quasi anarcho-libertarian Quaker's take on politics, volleyball, and other esoterica.

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