Homosexuality and the Moral Fabric of Society

by Jason Stotts

On my post yesterday “Natural Sexuality”, MadMax raised this question in a response to a question asked on Noodlefood:

Do you think that homosexual marriage and homosexual adoption could in any way “threaten” heterosexual marriage? The argument is that allowing open homosexuality will encourage more of it and this will undermine the traditional family structure which will in turn destroy society.

This sounds like religious conservative nonsense but the only thing that does make some sense to me is that a child should be exposed to both sexes as parental models as they grow up. I am curious as to your opinion.

Since I didn’t want my response to lie forever hidden in the comments of the last post, I’ll answer it here so that everyone can see it.

My answer, as most people could probably guess, is: NO! I don’t think that allowing homosexual marriage would in any way harm heterosexual relationships.

Homosexuality is not some sort of horrible disease or plague. The idea that homosexuality is evil is a religious idea. Homosexuality is offensive to the christian god because the christian god is all about reproduction and homosexuals cannot, qua homosexuals, reproduce. But so what? What difference does it make that homosexuals cannot reproduce? Does this mean that the christian god hates infertility? It must. Does the christian god see a barren woman as being equally noxious as a homosexual? Let’s hope he does if he is to be “all good” and consistent with himself.

Seriously though, in my research on sexuality I have found the opposite to be true. In the cases that I’ve read on homosexual parents raising children, the studies found no significant statistical difference between the likelihood that a child of heterosexual parents or homosexual parents will turn out to be gay (I’ll have to look up the source, I can’t recall it offhand). So, the argument quoted on Noodlefood seems to be just wrong. However, what difference does it make if homosexual parents are more likely than heterosexual parents to raise homosexual children? To point to this as a reason why homosexuals should not be allowed to marry or adopt is to say that homosexuality is evil and we don’t want it to be encouraged. What’s even more monstrous to me is that fact that if we don’t allow homosexuals to adopt children, then these children will be stuck in orphanages or foster homes which have been shown time and again to be sub-optimal places for a child to develop. So, the conclusion of barring gays from adopting is this: we would rather children grow up maladjusted or with psychological problems than gay!

I think the argument that children need both genders as parents to learn proper gender roles is silly as well. If it was truly the case that this was needed, we should bar single parents by law and remove their children to state orphanages. I know that I was raised solely by my mother and only very rarely had any input from my father (and I wish I hadn’t had that) and I don’t think that my masculinity suffered as a consequence. Realistically, I think that most kids learn about sex roles more from their peers and from the media around them (books, TV, movies, etc) than from their parents.

I have a hard time understanding any arguments about the evils of homosexuality except for the one that says “god hates it.” This argument is obviously wrong, as there is no magical old man in the sky, but at least it’s open and doesn’t try to hide behind other rationalizations. All other arguments against homosexuality are either rationalized, and couched, versions of the “god hates it” argument or simply just open hatred of homosexuality born of the fear of difference.

And it’s true – homosexuality is different! But so what? How does the fact that my male friend Z loves his boyfriend affect my relationship with my fiancee? My relationship with my fiance M. does not take into consideration any others; our relationship is between us only. Even if the rest of society forsook monogamy and started living in communes, the relationship between M. and I would not change.

Do I think that our society might change if homosexuality were openly accepted? Yes! I don’t know how exactly the change would look, but I know that there would be no danger to heterosexual couples. Let me conclude this slightly less than philosophically rigorous rant by agreeing with Madmax when he says:

I am starting to realize that an Objectivist society should there ever be one – ie a fully rational, secular, individualist society that rejects platonic conceptions of morality and *sexual morality* – would be a very different culture than ours. My guess is that it might even be sexually shocking to modern sensibilities, even to those of Objectivists.

Who knows, maybe I’ll even write a speculative essay soon on what it might look like.

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