Cooper apparently believes gayness is immutable

I was talking with commenter Zim offline about their insightful comment the other day that pointed out that one logical conclusion of Cooper's argument is that bisexuals should get married.

It turns out there was a subtlety to what Zim was saying that I had missed:

Cooper says that same-sex couples pose no risk to society of accidental pregancy.

But that seems to presuppose that orientation doesn't change.

More specifically:

Let's start by assuming, as the Prop 8 people do, that sexual orientation is a choice, and can change over time.

That implies that anyone who's in a same-sex couple right now might later have sex with someone of the opposite sex. (I'm sticking to gender binaries here for simplicity.)

And that means that members of same-sex couples pose the same risk to society (the risk of accidental pregnancy out of wedlock) as what Cooper referred to as the “fertile member” of an opposite-sex couple in which one partner is infertile. (I apologize for following Cooper's lead, both here and in my previous posts on this topic, in oversimplifying and trivializing the difficult issues around infertility.)

Which leads inexorably to one of two conclusions:

Either same-sex couples should be encouraged to get married, just like opposite-sex couples with one infertile member;

Or our starting assumption was wrong, and homosexuality is not a choice, but an immutable characteristic.

Cooper's whole argument is to oppose same-sex marriage, so the first of the above two options is unlikely. Therefore, Cooper apparently believes that someone in a same-sex couple will never sleep with someone of the opposite sex, and thus that homosexuality is immutable.

I know that it's kind of pointless to try to figure out what the logical conclusions of Cooper's arguments are. The parts of his argument that are logical are irrelevant to the topic; the parts that are relevant are a web of non sequiturs. (And I'm guessing he would probably back away from the infertile-couples part of his argument if pressed.)

My impression is that he wasn't interested in building a logical argument; I think he just wanted to toss out any old idea that came to mind, in order to support his real argument, which was that gays aren't a suspect class and so only the flimsiest of excuses is needed for it to be Constitutional for the state to discriminate against them.

But I nonetheless think it's kind of fun and entertaining to look at what the logical consequences of some of the stuff he said would be, if taken seriously.

One Response to “Cooper apparently believes gayness is immutable”

  1. Elizabeth Oakes

    Yeah, I actually felt kinda sorry for Cooper–it sucks having to argue an impossible case.

    I liked Olson’s distinction that just because sexual orientation may CHANGE doesn’t mean it’s a CHOICE. Don’t know if that will fly with Judge Walker or upon appeal, but maybe if a new trial is ordered they can have George Rekers come testify about whether his “choice” to hang out with rent boys after bashing gays for a living was volitional or not.

    And they have to bring his buddy Blankenhorn back–his testimony was invaluable to the plaintiffs.


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