|Current mood:|| contemplative|
A thought to ponder.
For the past few days I've been involved in an ongoing debate on gay rights with people on livejournal over this and I figured I'd present my arguments for the case in what I hope is an intelligent and well thought out manner, this is something I've been working hard on, gathering all my thoughts together and presenting them in a way where I am (hopefully) not being directly offensive t religious people or demanding that you see my side and try to understand where we're coming from. I know you're all probably sick of the gay rights posts all over by now but I think this is worth bringing up:
The biggest lobby against homosexual marriages comes from religious communities, churches and fundamental/evangelical religious/conservative groups. I am not going to argue their morals, it's a pointless idea to argue morality. I'm not trying to change anyone's opinions on homosexuality, if you find homosexuality to be a sin don't practice it, no one's making you. No one's going to make you ACCEPT homosexuality or us gays. You don't have to come to the pride parades, you don't have to come to our weddings, hell if you're related to us you're free to cut us off. All we ask is to have the right to marry someone we love. Imagine loving someone so deeply your heart could break but you are not legally allowed to be with said person. (in 21 states including the one I live in sodomy is illegal, even if the partakers are consenting adults). Allowing homosexuals the right to get married is not going to hurt you or your family in any way. If you want to teach your children that it's wrong then go ahead and teach them, I'm not stopping you. Heterosexuals and churches will NOT be hurt by gay marriage. I respect your belief that it is a sin, and you can continue to pray for my immortal soul, no one's stopping you, but having homosexual marriage be legal will not hurt YOUR immortal soul.
"But, Cobain, I don't want my kid learning in school that homosexuality is okay! I don't want to raise my kids in a world where it's acceptable to be gay"
Well, lets face it. Your kids are going to learn a LOT of things you may disapprove of in school. It's a part of growing up. They'll lie, steal, get in fights, etc. Whether gay marriage is legal or not this will not change. Homosexuality was pretty rampant in my high school, less so on my college campus. Lets face it, it IS a pretty trendy thing to be bi nowadays, so your kid will most likely come across homosexuality/bisexuality in school. That's something you'd have to deal with, it isn't up to the school system to cater to the wishes and beliefs of every parent. It's YOUR job to raise your kids and teach them right from wrong. If you feel your kids are learning something you disapprove of then you talk to them and remember, they are people too and they will get to a point where they want to decide for themselves what to believe in, that fact will remain true whether I can legally marry or not.
"But, Cobain, marriage is a religious institution and my religion forbids homosexuality."
If marriage is a religious institution then the government has no place in it. On the same note, if marriage is a religious institution, then I guess it would be illegal for atheists and other non-religious people to marry.
One of the biggest lobbys (outside of religious texts) that most people seem to have against gay marriage is that it weakens the family structure, the traditional view of marriage and harms the children (if children are involved).
Here's something that hit me not too long ago and I've been working on how to articulate it for some time now.
I honestly don't see gay marriage as hurting the structure of marriage in the long run. Marriage has been growing progressively weaker for years. Divorce rates are up, generally anyone over the age of 18 can get married (even younger if the parents sign a form saying they can). You can get married in Vegas to someone you just met and get divorced three hours later.
Abusive heterosexual males have the right to marry a woman but I don't. Do you think a child is safer with abusive heterosexual parents or loving gay parents? What about the woman being abuses? Do you think she'd be happier in an abusive relationship with a man, or in a loving committed relationship with another woman?
Forty to fifty years ago white supremicists (sp?) were sickened by the idea of interracial marriage because it hurt the sanctity of not only the "pue white race" but of marriage as a whole. How are people that swear homosexual marriages will hurt the sanctity and tradition of mariage any different? They're not.
"But Cobain, gays are so promiscuous! They sleep around all the time! They couldn't handle marriage."
That's a silly stereotpe. True, there are a number of promiscuous gays in the club scene, but it's a silly generalization to assume that all gays are slutty. I see straight girls all the time that seep around, and with straight guys, hell they see sex as a badge of honour, the more they have it the bigger of a man they are. Yes there ARE gays like that, but you're overlooking the fact that there are gays in relationships where they are truly committed to their partner and theidea of cheating is unheard of.
If I knew the answer to that I'd be rich. There is definately evidence that there are certain biological traits in homosexuals that are different, and certain animals have been known to show homosexual traits. I can say for a fact that I was born gay, many other gays can also say they were born gay but we are aware that for a heterosexual that does not work as proof. They'd just be taking our word for it. As far as I know there is no surefire way to tell if someone is gay by birth or by choice. Either way that's not the issue.
We, as a species (and especially as a culture), do a lot of things that are not natural. We wear clothes, that's un-natural. If you've ever had an operation of any kind that's definately un-natural. The fact that many of us are still living is un-natural, because if it weren't for man-made inventions and medical advancements many of us would have died by now.
"But, Cobain, all of those things you're talking about have HELPED the human race in some way. Homosexuality, whether natural or not, does not help us, you aren't having sex to reproduce, you're doing it for the sheer pleasure. Why should the laws be changed for that?"
If that's the case then, I guess childfree couples should not legally marry. I'm childfree, so even if I was straight I wouldn't breed because I don't want kids. What about infertile people, they can't reproduce, should they also not legally marry?
Sometimes it can be, sometimes abused or depressed kids will need to find acceptance in some crowd and the GLBTS crowd happens to be a very accepting group of people. No one can really say for sure what causes kids to realise that they're gay, maybe for some it is a choice, maybe for some (especially sexual abuse victims) it is something that happens to them later on in life. For some it is something innate, for others it happens along the way. Nowadays especially there is a HUGE uprise in GLBTS teens (especially bi) and yes many people are just experimenting/being trendy etc. That's no reason to say it shouldn't be a legal institution! If they're being trendy let them, but the majority of GLBTS over 18 are real, and it is unfortunate that we are judged based on what a lot of trendies do for attention (I am NOT implying that every high schooler that says they're bi/gay is lieing, I'm just saying it's something more popular to experiment with in high school and usually the trendies "grow out of it" for lack of better term).
"But Cobain, why is depression so prevalent in the gay community, there has to be some correlation."
There definately is! For many gays it is VEEY HARD to accept themselves, to come to terms with themselves and then to come out to their loved ones. In Western culture the majority of families are in ome way religious, even if they are not practicing many will stil lclassify themselves as religion X and more or less adhere to the basic beliefs. Coming out, in the gay community, is a HUGE deal. Many people are ostracised, insulted and even disowned by their families. That in itself is sure to cause great depression! Often when kids begin to experiance feelings that are forign to them (sexual feelings) they can discuss it with their parents, they learn about it in school or from their friends etc. Now imagine feeling those feelings for the first time, but for someone of the same gender. If you were raised to believe it's wrong, it goes against God/Allah/etc or that you're a "fag" (which kids use as an insult all the time now) you're very very likely to become depressed or self loathing. The idea of depression and homosexuality is very much a "which came first" idea. Were the people depressed and for some reason that turnd them gay, or were they gay and that led to depression thanks to society's views on gays.
My main point in posting this was because I realise that when I debate (especially on this subject) I tend to get very emotionally involved and therefore when I am attempting to make a point, it's so surrounded by emotion that it comes across like either I'm trying to pick a fight or like a rally call.
This is, I hope, a clear and organized explanation of why I feel homosexual marriage should be legal. I tried to think of a lot of arguments against it so I could give my two cents on those arguments, but I'm drawing a blank, so I wrote what I could think of. I want to hear your thoughts on the matter.
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Just thought I'd weigh in on one part of your postings, the portion about the origins on homosexuality and whether or not it is a help or a hinderance to the human race. My take on it was not something presented in the anthropology courses I took while getting my anthro degree, but it is an idea I hit on independently while learning about the role of the grandmother in the raising of her grandchildren in hunter/gatherer groups, and the "genetic" answer to the problem of altruism. Now that I'm done throwing around vague, confusing stuff...|
It turns out that in most hunter/gatherer groups (the "baseline reality" of human existence, or the social/ecological form of human groups we first evolved into), the grandmother provides most of the nutrition that her grandchildren receive. The reason is simple enough: she is often beyond her child bearing years, so she helps her daughters with their older children while they (the daughters) are occupied with infants.
From the standpoint of "gene survival", this is an excellent strategy for a grandmother to pursue - even though they are not her own children, a woman's grandchildren still carry 25% of her genetics. Putting the effort into ensuring their survival helps to ensure her own genetic survival, and typically across a greater number of individuals. She is not having children of her own any longer, but it is possible for her to promote her genes in this manner.
Now jump to the problem of altruism: the problem, simply summarized, is explaining how creatures sacrificing themselves for the benefit of other creatures fits into the scheme of individuals trying to pass on their own genes. It doesn't make sense to essentially commit suicide to achieve those ends - running away and letting "the other guy get it" would make more sense.
The "solution" was found when research revealed that altruistic behavior directly correlates to the degree of relatedness between individuals: creatures putting themselves in danger generally did so only when it would have helped the survival of a related creature; in other words, it generally happened when it could have helped another who carried some of the altruistically acting creature's genetic code.
Now to make this relate to the topic at hand (or, how I'm going to make it clear that I don't think homosexuality has anything to do with suicidal grandparents)...
In consideration of the fact that a creature can ensure the furthering of its own genes by investing in the welfare of somewhat distantly related creatures (more degrees of separation than one's own offspring), it begins to dismantle the notions that homosexuality is unnatural because it doesn't directly lead to reproduction and that homosexuality is bad for general human welfare. Put into the full context of anatomically modern human existence, it is more likely that the opposite is true, that human homosexuality served as an aid in the survival of hunter/gatherer bands, and, by extension, those of us in existence today.
(keep reading... I had to split this. Argh.)
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To understand why this is so, it helps to examine the lifestyle of a hunter/gatherer band - society as we know it is only about 10,000 years old, but we are a species that first appeared (by the oldest evidence available) 200,000 years ago. Up until the development of agriculture and settled societies, humans existed in small, nomadic bands that had to move with resources (pursuing animals and seasonally available plant foods). In such settings, reciprocal altruism (sharing of resources within the group) is essential for the survival of the group, which is also the only hope for survival for each individual within it.
Enter into the various difficulties of such groups the care of children - humans are born helpless and become independent only after a prolonged period of parental involvement/investment (this period of dependence is long relative to other primates). Children are, while essential to the continuity of a hunter/gatherer group, a burden in that they require resources but cannot provide any. Put simply, they can be here conceived of as "energy sinks."
Even though hunter/gatherer groups do share resources with the entire group, there is a bias toward one's own "nuclear family" in the order of distribution (who gets what first and how much). This could create a problem when resources become scarce.
However, a possible buffer against this is the natural occurence of homosexuals - disinclined to mate with the opposite sex and produce offspring (not impossible, of course, but less likely so), these individuals would otherwise act as members of the hunter/gatherer band; that is, they would still provide for the group as a whole. Absent of direct offspring to provide for first, homosexuals in hunter/gatherer groups would instead distribute resources in excess of their individual needs over the rest of the group, and more so along the lines of bias towards their brothers, sisters, nieces, and nephews. In so doing, they would be contributing to the survival of their group and indirectly ensuring the survival of their own genes without producing children of their own by investing in the children of their siblings (nieces and nephews would carry a "genetic load" of nearly 50%).
That homosexuals would generally not produce children may lead some to prematurely conclude that homosexuality would then exit the gene pool, but this is where group genetics comes into play: if given the above scenario, in which homosexuals in hunter/gatherer bands contribute to the welfare of the group while not creating more mouths to feed, then any group which carried the "genetic potential" to create homosexual offspring (via the chance joinings of the proper genetic codes) would have an evolutionary advantage over a group that did not; such a group would, in short, be able to naturally add to their resource gathering capacities while naturally limiting the number of children born to some extent.
So, long story short (because I'm about to fall asleep), when taking into consideration the problems human beings had to overcome in our evolutionary past, and with our recent understandings of the function of genes, it becomes more clear that homosexuality is not only natural, but in our "natural state", it was beneficial! I'm not sure how many (if any) anthropological studies of homosexuality in hunter/gatherer scale groups have been conducted, so this is all just hypothesizing on my part, but frankly, it sounds more plausible to me than cryptic, probably poorly translated and otherwise completely misunderstood condemnations of homosexuality contained in the writings of dusty sheep herders from the near east 2,000 years ago.
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Excellent breakdown, Pablo, of at least what I've mostly heart about trying to explain the evolutionary advantages of homosexuality. Also, some excellent points, Cobain, about the big picture issues. |
I think in terms of family values, conservatives are barking up the wrong tree for helping all that. The fact that so many gay couples are having or adopting kids certainly turns everything on end. With so many children growing up with one parent or no parents, allowing gays to take over what traditional society can't handle only aids us as a species. I think my new motto is that once one gets past the boring moralizing from moralists, the real work can begin. Same way it was with race...let's get beyond the idiots who say "homosexuality is a sin" or "I hate black people" and start talking turkey. Once you learn to ignore the idiots, there are no rational reasons why we would not accept homosexuality. In a freedom loving advanced society, it runs counter to everything we stand for to say someone's gender preference is the state's business. As pointed out, individuals are free to agree or disagree. You don't have to respect the decision, but you at least have to respect that other people have a choice.
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I think in terms of family values, conservatives are barking up the wrong tree for helping all that.|
I've always wanted to know, "whose family values?" I know that they're talking about husband, wife, 2.5 kids, white picket fence, and a dog, but that's only one form of a family. The world-over, there are many, many different combinations of people into family units, and for the settings and the cirumstances they find themselves in, they work. In the Amazon, indigenous peoples often practice polygamy; in the Himalayas, polyandry. Do these conservatives then think that such families have no value? (well... probably.)
I think my new motto is that once one gets past the boring moralizing from moralists, the real work can begin. Same way it was with race...let's get beyond the idiots who say "homosexuality is a sin" or "I hate black people" and start talking turkey.
I think people need to get past the "yuck factor" - most of the people I've met who continue to rail against "the homosexuals taking over" are scared of the thought of homosexual sex. My question is, "why are you thinking about it if you're not going to do it?" Heh. :)
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With regard to, say, Christians who are against homosexuality and voting for it, etc., I would say this...|
It is the obligation of the lawmaker and us as a voting public--Christian or not--to make laws for everyone and not just Christians. There is, indeed, a separation of church and state there...we have to realize that the law cannot come from the Christian point of view though many would like it to. The law is about what is fair to everybody. And Christians need to realize that even if they personally disagree that they cannot be allowed to control the choices of others. There is a higher level of governing than "God's law" going on...mainly because we can't all agree on what God wants. They very well may think that to allow homosexuality is a sin and they will be sent to hell for it, but perhaps that finds the limits of such thinking with regard to government. If a judge thought that God thinks rape shouldn't be a crime because men should control women, I'd want him off the bench, too. He is allowed his opinion, but his opinion cannot be allowed to interfere in what is in the best interests of everyone.
Which is, personally, why I laugh sometimes at conservative Christians' attempting to say they know what is in the best interests of everyone because they know what God wants. God gave us a brain for a reason. I find it hard to believe that God would create some people to either be or choose to be homosexuals and then condemn that behavior and wish us to be horrible to members of the human race for something God had a hand in. But, then again, I'm a universalist in that way. I think the entire concept of hell and sinning is funny, too. Free will is a powerful thing...God knew there would be murder and stealing and really bad things but gave us the gift anyway. I tend to view life as learning that even those really bad things are less evil as much as being just stupid. Not very Godlike to murder and not very Godlike to go around trying to catalog who "sins" and such. I tend to be against the death penalty for the same reason I'm pro-gay rights. You can't say something is bad and at the same time do it yourself. By telling gays that homosexuality is wrong, I think that is just as bad as the homosexuality itself. At the very least, even if they disagree, Christians owe it to gays to shut the heck up and let them make the mistake themselves.
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Hey. I’m trying to learn more about Islam and Israel. Anything anyone knows, or any opinions you have on anything in that subject, I would love to know. Really, anyone with any info or opinion on whats going on in that country, the religion or whats gone on in the past. I’d love to know what you think. Thank you.|
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