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Not another blog note on ...

I’ve been reading quite a bit about the arguments, political and social, that have erupted over the marriage question. One thing that I still notice is the absence of sex from the discussion.

It seems obvious to me that if same-sex marriage becomes legal, that there will be in the future more and better same-sex sex. That’s a positive, from my point of view; when my daughter is twenty-five, I’d prefer that she will have a fulfilling lesbian sex life than a lousy straight sex life. The more role models of contented couples (or for that matter triples) there are of whatever gender makeup, the better for her, as she’s more likely to ultimately happily find her own life. That’s my own opinion. I want her to be (a) happy and (b) good, and I don’t think ‘good’ excludes ‘engages in certain consensual sex acts’.

If, however, you think that sex acts between women, or between men, are inherently sinful—or if you think that they are inherently degrading, harmful, or dangerous—it seems clear that married couples claiming (to this view, erroneously) that they are happy, will lead people to think they might find happiness that way. And, of course, many people think even sex between a man and a woman is inherently degrading, harmful, or dangerous, and that it’s only OK within a marriage. That is, the marriage gives permission for the sex.

I guess I’d put it like this. If you have a son, and you think it is possible that your son might someday feel a slight glimmering of sexual attraction to another male, whilst drunk, perhaps, how would you want that son to react? With revulsion or with (cautious) warmth? Do you think that having legal (and in at least a few cases, celebrated) marriages between gay men would inform that reaction? Same-sex marriage does not endanger my two-sex marriage, but it may endanger your putative son’s, insofar as it opens other options to him.

Redintegro Iraq,
-Vardibidian.

Comments

It's an interesting point, but it seems to me that if someone were to make this argument, it would be predicated on their belief that homosexuality (and/or acting on homosexual feelings) is morally wrong. And if someone believes that moral statement, it seems to me it follows self-evidently that same-sex marriage shouldn't be legal; I don't think someone who believes homosexuality is wrong needs to make any of the other arguments that people are making, about stable families for children, or destroying the institution of marriage, or your promoting-gay-sex thing. To someone with those beliefs, it seems to me that the marriage question should be pretty much irrelevant; the real point is that homosexuality is bad, and that we shouldn't be doing anything as a society to suggest otherwise.

Or am I missing your point?


I agree with that, but isn't that the view of most of the anti-gay-marriage populace? Much of the public argument has ignored that, and been made on the legal arguments. That may well have been deliberate, or may simply be a function of who is bothering to actually argue. But the real reason, for 40% or so of the US, is that gay marriage leads to gay sex, and they are against gay sex.

Or so it seems to me.

R.I.,
-V.


Oy, the chickens and the eggs. Is same-sex marriage wrong because same-sex sex is wrong, so it would be wrong to consecrate it? Or is same-sex sex wrong because there is no such thing as same-sex marriage, and any kind of sex outside of marriage is wrong? Oof.

There are surely lots of people who oppose same-sex marriage, and don't oppose premarital sex, so it's probably not the second one, but still.


Just a side point on the legality/morality distinction: we have some large bodies of law governing the circumstances under which it's legal to do things which some members of society think are immoral. For example, consuming alcohol, having sex, and killing people. So clearly there isn't a one-to-one mapping (or even a perceived need for one).

Now there may just be a tipping point--if enough people decide that something is not immoral (note that I did not say "moral"), then it may become legal (universal suffrage, premarital sex, recreational drug use). And if enough people decide that something is immoral, then it may become illegal (slavery, child labor, recreational drug use). And an earlier tipping point seems to be non-enforcement of laws, or selective enforcement of unrelated laws.

I'm not sure this point really leads anywhere useful, except insofar as it makes people think about whether a personal moral code should be the basis of the society's legal system. Particularly since they may well not be the ones making the decisions...


An excellent point, Stephen; I myself think that abortion is almost always the wrong moral choice, but oppose legislating that choice away. I have no idea whether anybody is publicly saying 'homosexuality is wrong, homosexual sex is wrong, but that's a choice every human must make for him or her self, so let's not make legislation about it'.

On the other hand, in your examples you don't differentiate between so-called victimless crimes (such as sex between consenting men used to be) and so-called victimy crimes. OK, nobody calls them that. People are, I think, more likely to legislate in areas where they perceive that somebody has been hurt than in areas where they just think the action is bad. Much of the serious defense of the drug laws centers on the 'victims' either of addiction, of violent crime committed by drug-impaired people, or of other drug-related program activities.

R.I.,
-V.


If you have a son, and you think it is possible that your son might someday feel a slight glimmering of sexual attraction to another male, whilst drunk, perhaps, how would you want that son to react?

With the knowledge that some folks with love him no matter what he chooses to do, and that love isn't the same as respect. I would want him to acknowledge his own feelings honestly, both during and after, and treat the other parties with respect and affection regardless of his choice.

Do you think that having legal (and in at least a few cases, celebrated) marriages between gay men would inform that reaction?

Yes, in the sense that what is in the "social norm" or is socially acceptable, is part of how we decide to behave, whom we choose to treat with respect.


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