Catfish and Cod
Thursday, July 31, 2003
Just what the world needs.
(Link path: Washington Post)
The Vatican, in its ineffable and "infallible" wisdom, has decided to take this opportunity to let everyone know that gay marriage is evil.
The President thinks so too; he's Protestant, but equally conservative.
Liberals, including the Dutch, Canadian, and Vermonter governments, disagree. So does Howard Dean.
I think trouble's a-brewing.
Soapbox: While the conservatives are correct that homosexuality isn't natural -- it's an almost-guaranteed Darwinian disaster, as you have a very low chance of passing on your genes -- it also isn't a conscious choice or rational decision. Thus, its existence has very little to do with morality. (Unless you're a Calvinist, but I think Calvin was off his rocker.) However, there are moral issues associated with homosexuality.
Heterosexual society has two problems with homosexual society: (1) they're afraid (even if unconsciously) of homosexual rape; and (2) they're afraid of what happens to their children if they suddenly and randomly turn up homosexual. Homosexual rape should be dealt with in the same way as heterosexual rape, that is to say, very harshly. Public hangings are not outside the realm of propriety in such cases. The issue of cultural mores for gays is a more difficult issue. Since homosexual culture is smaller, oppressed, and more fluid than the majority heterosexual culture, it's much harder to form a stable relationship, settle down, and "have" (adopt or host-parent) children. The mores aren't established. That problem, in turn, is caused because homosexuals are the eternal minority. Unlike race, gender, or religion, homosexuality is genetically determined to be low in the population, kept low by Darwinian selection, and moving elsewhere or trying to change your mind doesn't help.
The ancient Greeks solved the problem by making homosexuality mainstream: culturally enforced bisexuality. The Abrahamic religions revolted against that; that revolt fuels conservative movements even today, from Methodist Alabama to Catholic Italy to Muslim Pakistan. It makes no more sense to culturally force bisexuality than heterosexuality; but Western Civ is the first arena culturally tolerant enough to *try* and create a stable homosexual subculture.
Is it possible? I don't know. Statistics show that homosexuals tend to be more promiscuous and given to domestic violence; but, of course, the statisticians could be culturally biased. What I do know is that it should be *tried*. Creating a stable homosexual mores -- gay marriage, civil unions, whatever you want to call it -- would solve a lingering biological/cultural problem that's been bugging our species for thousands of years. The only rational alternative solution I can think of is genetic elimination of the homosexual trait from the population by genetic engineering; but that would mean serious invasion-of-privacy and right-to-procreate issues, as well as the possibility that homosexuality can't be eliminated in that manner. (It might be caused by multifunctional genes that also control other elements of brain development.)
I don't mind gay people; I have a number of gay friends. I do want them to keep their courting to themselves, but that isn't much of an issue except for loudmouths. And I don't really see the need to ban or demote civil unions, except the fear of a breakdown in the social contract. The Vatican, like much of the Muslim, evangelical Christian, and orthodox Jewish world, operates on the assumption that the social contract is mortared and bound by Holy Scripture. That's why they oppose civil unions: the social contract must be defended at all costs.
I operate on a different principle: the social contract is amendable. The Founding Fathers were the first to articulate this principle and found a society based on it. Considering that said society (my society) rose to world domination in only two centuries, I'd say it's at least worth considering.