Sunday, May 30, 2004

It's natural, right? It must be good

Here's a rock-solid truth that our culture tries to deny: we don't choose the people we love.
If we don't want to see women forced to walk two steps behind their husbands, if we don't want to see them lose the right to vote, to work, to have credit and to own property, if we don't want to live in an anti-democratic and insanely fundamentalist country, then we must all fight for the right of homosexuals to marry.
So, if I'm right, the idea is that the relgious right is attempting to say that marriage is about more than feelings, whereas this writer says that love is the basis of marriage.

This is a good question (but one that this writer seems to assume away easily)...what is the basis of marriage? When I asked a homosexual friend what the virtue of homosexuality is (I know, I'm a weirdo, just get over the language and try to see the lesson), he said that love is. Is this what most people would describe as the virtue of heterosexuality as well? I think most people in today's culture would state that it is. If this is the case, then homosexuality must be allowed as it would simply be a matter of who you love. The conservative extension of this argument (simply based on the commonality of love) would say that it must be extended afterwards to all loving consensual parties (bisexuals wishing to marry more than one partner - natural is good, right? - as well as those interested in incest and so on. The obvious question is if those advocating love as the sole basis of marriage are willing to let the laws slide a bit further.

This is assuming, as this article does, that all feelings are natural. But, are all "good" feelings necessarily right? After all, just as we don't necessarily choose who to love, we don't necessarily choose who to hate, or who to react to in any emotional way. And also, since the idea of acting on those emotions seems to follow as an ethical good (atleast from this article), then how can we rightfully declare anyone to be wrong (except for those who don't really believe in what they're doing...and how are we going to determine this?)? Ultimately, this does not lead toward any idea of the governmentally supported institution of marriage whatsoever.

And this would make sense, wouldn't it? After all, if marriage is simply a personal matter, then why would the government be involved? The conservative position would say that it is necessary for some sociological good beyond personal feeling. The liberal position would say (I think) that it would encourage positive relationships and thusly foster personal good for each member of the family. Now, I realize that the line between these two is ambiguous, but try to see the language. The conservative position is saying that there is an absolute positive to be achieved, whereas the liberal position is saying that marriage can help individuals feel better about themselves. I'm not sure about this, but it seems to fit the argument fairly well. For more information on this, look at the sociological information regarding homosexual vs heterosexual lifestyles (if I find some good articles on this, I'll post them...but I should note that most of the studies are done and quoted by conservatives).

Ultimately, though, we seem to be hitting up against the same pop-biological arguments as always...that our sexuality is programmed and ouside of our control and is therefore good for us to practice. I tend to agree with Dean Hamer:
...biology is amoral; if offers no help in distinguishing between right and wrong. Only people, guided by their values and beliefs, can decide what is moral and what is not.
I have no problem with people exploring the ethics and morality of homosexuality, but to simply equate natural with good is silliness and is an argument that will fall to pieces if we start thinking about the consequences of our ideas.

If you believe, on the other hand, that people are naturally good, I'd be interested in understanding the reasons why. I tend to agree with Clives Staples Lewis, who said that the fall of man, as understood by the Christianity, is an empirically verifiable claim. When's the last time you've read the news?

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