Monday, April 27, 2009

Science and Sound Sense: The Secular Case Against Same-Sex Marriage

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Warning: this essay is very graphic and will offend many. I fixed a couple of stupid typos that should not have been there (since it was a final draft). In the space allotted, I've tried my best to argue against same-sex marriage from the natural law, rather than, say, Bible passages. You should be able to agree with the premises even in paragraph 14, because they, too, are from the natural law. God bless you and yours!

27 April 2009

Science and Sound Sense: The Secular Case Against Same-Sex Marriage

Summa Contra Gay Marriage
1. We cannot legalize gay marriage because doing so would mean sanctifying and giving numerous rewards to intrinsically unhealthy behavior. Men who have sex with men negatively affect each other's physical health, as do women who have sex with women (Diggs). Homosexual relations harm mental health, as well (ibid.). Households with parents of the same-sex are not good for children, whether the children are adopted or are biological descendants of one of the parents (Rekers). Furthermore, legalizing marriage between members of the same sex would also insult marriage between one man and one woman by making the latter equivalent to a situation in which the purpose of marriage can never be fulfilled (May). Making gay marriage legal entails acting against the best interests of the state.

Truth & Love
2. Gay marriage is a most hotly contested issue in our country, and one often hears about it in the media, with shows mentioning topics like California's Proposition 8, which states, "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." Homosexual citizens of the United States seek legislation permitting them to marry and receive the 1,049 benefits that heterosexual married couples enjoy (Carpenter). They object that civil unions do not allow them the full enjoyment of these benefits, and that not all states must recognize the civil unions to begin with (Foderaro). They also believe that legalizing gay marriage is one of the best ways to reinforce our image as a country with excellent enforcement of human rights, civil rights, and equality. However, it is obvious that the struggle of gays to be able to legally marry is not a just cause, but a campaign to institutionalize sin. I, along with millions of other opponents of gay marriage, love and care about homosexuals. I write this in order to help my gay friends and those who agree with their positive view of homosexuality to see the truth. Loving someone is not condoning his destructive behavior, but persuading him to correct his ways and live in a healthy manner.

Same Sex Relationship Laws Around the World
3. Laws concerning homosexuality vary greatly around the world. In 1993, the Hawaiian State Supreme Court ruled in Baehr v. Lewin that a law prohibiting same-sex marriage in the state was unconstitutional (Hosek). Since then, a lot has happened in the United States with respect to legislation on homosexuality. The 1996 Defense of Marriage Act defines, on the federal level, that marriage is the legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife. Homosexual sexual activity has been legal nationwide since 2003, three states (Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Iowa) recognize same-sex marriage (Vermont will legalize it later this year), and 20 states have laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. In the Netherlands, homosexual sexual activity has been legal since 1811, same-sex marriage has been legal since 2001, gay couples can adopt children, and all discrimination based on sexual orientation is illegal. Homosexuality is socially acceptable in that country (Diggs 6). Contrast these countries with Mauritania in northwest Africa, where the application of the Islamic law of Shari'a means that the penalty for being caught engaging in homosexual activity is death by public stoning. Mauritania is one of the seven countries that still enforces capital punishment for consensual sexual relations between adults of the same sex. The others are Iran, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

4. Homosexual relations are "uniformly unhealthy" (Fitzgibbons). According to Massachusetts physician Dr. John R. Diggs, Jr., sexual relations between members of the same sex, by their very nature, have negative consequences for physical and mental health (Diggs 3). Consider, for example, the practice of anal-genital sex that commonly occurs between gay men (5). A three-year study by the Stop AIDS Project in San Francisco found that among 21,857 men who had sex with men, about 60 percent regularly practiced anal sex, with the number rising as the years passed ("Increases in Unsafe Sex"). According to the "most comprehensive representative survey of sexual practices in the general adult population of the United States," about 80 percent of men who had sex with men in the past year had active anal sex with at least one male partner, and the same proportion is true for receptive anal sex (Laumann 318). To deny that anal sex is unnatural and unhealthy is to deny the most fundamental human physiology and modern medicine (Diggs 3). It is unnatural simply because the human body is not structured for such activity (3). According to Dr. Jeremy Agnew, Director of Product Development for Starkey Laboratories, basic biology informs us that the rectum, unlike the vagina, is exit-only and unsuitable for penile penetration (3). The vagina is far different from the rectum, because it is a naturally lubricated orifice "supported by a network of muscles," and has "a mucus membrane with a multi-layer stratified squamous epithelium" that lets it undergo friction without damage and lets it prevent the immunosuppressive effects of sperm and semen (3). Penile penetration injures and weakens the sphincter (3). Dr. Agnew points out that the friction of such penetration damages the single cell layer separating the intestine and blood and the resulting trauma "expose[s]" each sexual partner "to blood, [fecal] organisms," and an unhealthy "mixing of bodily fluids" (3). This is exacerbated by the risk of immunosuppressive effects of certain components of semen, says Dr. Diggs (3). Semen has immunosuppressive effects so it can bypass the vagina's "immune defenses" and fertilize the egg (3). Its natural function is not to facilitate the spread of disease via acts of violence to the anus, abusive acts that, according to Dr. James E. Barrone, a member of the Department of Surgery at the Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Weill Medical College of Cornell University, can lead to hemorrhoids, anal fissures, and retained foreign bodies (4).

5. Anal sex is intrinsically unhealthy, and, according to the openly gay journalist Douglas Gabriel Rotello, anal sex "is the sine qua non of sex for many gay men" (5). Since anal-genital sex is "a most efficient manner of transmitting … infections," it is no surprise that among sexually active gay men, the following alphabet soup of diseases occurs exceedingly frequently, according to Dr. Anne M. Rompalo, Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University: anal cancer, chlamydia trachomatis, cryptosporidium, Giardia lamblia, Herpes simplex virus, HIV, Human papilloma virus, Isospora belli, Microsporidia, Gonorrhea, Viral hepatitis types B & C, and Syphilis (5). It would be silly not to conclude from the proven intrinsic effects of the aforementioned behavior that, as far as anal-genital intercourse goes, there can be no such thing as "safe sex" for gay men. Nor are other forms of male-to-male sexual relations healthy, Dr. Diggs rightly concludes from the available data (3).

Harm from Lesbian Relations
6. Female-to-female sexual relations are likewise unhealthy (3). A study by New York gynecologist Dr. Shelley Kolton found that of the women who had sexual relations with only women in the last 12 months, 30 percent were infected with bacterial vaginosis (6). Gynecologist Dr. Richard L. Sweet of the UC Davis Center for Women's Health points out that women with bacterial vaginosis are more likely to contract pelvic inflammatory disease, in addition to other STDs (6). Dr. Kathleen M. Morrow, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Brown University Medical School, has found incidences of anogenital warts, trichomoniasis, and HPV in "women who have never had sex with men" (6).

7. Homosexuality is also associated with psychiatric illness, and same-sex relations negatively affect mental health (Fitzgibbons). In fact, "homosexuality was diagnosed and treated as a psychiatric illness," that is, was considered by the psychiatric Diagnostic and Statistical Manual as "abnormal behavior," until 1973 (ibid.). The American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its list of psychiatric disorders in 1973 due to pressure from gay lobbyist groups (Bayer 3). The removal, which 39% of the members voted against, was politically and not scientifically motivated, according to the pro-gay professor of Sociomedical Sciences at the Mailman School of Public Health, Dr. Ronald Bayer (3-4).

8. Two studies in the American Medical Association's October 1999 Archives of General Psychiatry demonstrated a strong connection between homosexual sexual activity and suicide, in addition to connections between such activity and myriad mental and emotional disorders (Fitzgibbons). Dr. David M. Fergusson, Research Professor in the Department of Psychological Medicine at the Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences at the University of Chicago, found in an extensive study that "gay, lesbian, and bisexual young people are at increased risk of psychiatric disorder and suicidal behaviors" (ibid.). Compared to their heterosexual peers, the young gay people were "over six times as likely to have" tried to commit suicide, six times as likely to have several psychiatric illnesses, five times as likely to be dependent on nicotine, four times as likely to have "major depression," almost four times as likely to have "conduct disorder," and nearly three times as likely to have "generalized anxiety disorder" (ibid.).

9. Some will object that these problems do not flow from homosexual sexual activity itself, but from social rejection and persecution. The failure of this objection is apparent when we consider the Netherlands (ibid.). The Netherlands is very socially accepting of same-sex relations, and has legalized same-sex marriage (ibid.). A Dutch study in the Archives of General Psychiatry found high rates of psychiatric illness in connection with sexual relations between members of the same sex (Diggs 6). The study compared sexually active homosexuals with "controls who had no homosexual experience" in the last 12 months (6). Those men who engaged in any homosexual relations within the last 12 months were far "more likely to experience major depression, bipolar disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia, and obsessive compulsive disorder" (6). The women who had any sexual relations with women within the past year had higher incidences of diagnoses of "major depression, social phobia, or alcohol dependence" (Fitzgibbons). Almost all the "psychiatric disorders measured in the study" were more prevalent among those who had engaged in sexual relations with members of the same sex (ibid.).

10. How dare we legalize same-sex marriage, then? Homosexual sex acts intrinsically negatively affect physical and mental health and are unnatural because the human body is not designed to accommodate such activity. To be sure, there are numerous heterosexual marriages in which unhealthy sexual behavior is practiced, but this is accidental and not essential to heterosexual conjugal relations, i.e., not across the board as it is with gay unions in which the couples are not celibate. It defies all reason to elevate and institutionalize this behavior to the level of marriage and thereby make it equivalent to marriage between one man and one woman. Having learned the facts, do you still wish to reward and legitimize the former behavior as equivalent to the latter, or would you prefer to submit to reason? Will you continue in your campaign to sanctify immorality, or will you lovingly proclaim the truth to your neighbors?

11. Legalizing same-sex marriage means declaring families with two parents of the same sex to be as healthy as and equivalent to the traditional family with a father and mother and children. This is wrong, because a household with two parents of the same sex is an unsuitable and dangerous environment for a child, according to an extensive study by Dr. George A. Rekers, professor of neuropsychiatry and behavioral science at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine (Rekers). Same-sex relationships are, on average, "less stable and more short-lived … compared to a marriage of a man and a woman" (ibid.). Dr. Rekers points out that a study of married same-sex couples in Sweden and Norway found that, "when controls for demographic characteristics associated with increased risk for divorce were" accounted for, gay male "couples were 1.35 times as likely … and lesbian couples were three times as likely to divorce as heterosexual married couples" (ibid.). If a couple of the same sex raises a child, the couple robs the child of the unique, irreplaceable, and irrevocable contribution made by a parent of the opposite sex, as Dr. Rekers notes (ibid.). Children raised by gay couples do not enjoy the benefit of "a heterosocial role model of a stable married male/female relationship," nor do they have the advantage of having "a heterosocial role model of mother and father coordinating co-parenting" (ibid.). Such a household is much more harmful to children if the children are adopted, according to Dr. Rekers (ibid.). Legalizing gay marriage will make these maladies more widespread by making them the default for many households. Children are our future, and the state should not facilitate and institutionalize an environment for growing up that is, by default, harmful to those who will one day make the greatest contributions to society and keep the state functioning optimally.

Not Inborn
12. Many people object that gays are born gay, as if that would legitimize harmful same-sex relations. The citations of studies they use to support their assertion of inborn homosexuality are multiply flawed, and there are other reliable studies contradicting their claims (Dallas). Many people surrender to the claim that homosexuality is immutable. That is far from the case (ibid.). A homosexual orientation can, with therapy and counseling, be changed to a heterosexual orientation (Marco). The rates of success vary, but the fact remains that many committed individuals have eliminated homosexual tendencies via behavioral therapy (ibid.).

Not Like the Black Civil Rights Movement
13. Other persons compare the gay rights movement to the 1960s black civil rights movement, earning the sympathy of the uneducated. But the persons making such a comparison are guilty of constructing a false analogy (Neff 11). Whereas blacks are a minority because of their skin color, gays are a minority because of their behavior. While there are many former homosexuals (persons who have changed from homosexual orientation to heterosexual orientation), there cannot be a formerly black person. The bogus civil rights analogy forces a person to the false conclusion that he or she must always identify as homosexual, according to David Neff (14). Even Jonathan Rauch, a gay writer for The New Republic, recognizes the bankruptcy of the analogy (14). Rauch observes, among other differences between the gay rights movement and the black civil rights struggle, gays can vote and assemble to protest, they generally receive a better education than heterosexuals, and they are quite economically successful (Rauch 18-23).

Sexual Complementarity & the Purpose of Marital Sex
14. Finally, and most importantly, we must not legalize gay marriage because two members of the same sex cannot even fulfill the purpose of marriage (May). There is no "sexual complementary revealed in … bodily differences" by which the partners can give each other "in a receiving way" and receive each other "in a giving way" (ibid.). Persons of the same sex cannot achieve the "two-in-one-flesh communion" by anal or oral sex, masturbation, or any other techniques, and thus cannot "consummate their union by a bodily act in which they become the common subjects of an act that … is eminently fit both for the communication of spousal love and for the generation of new human life" (ibid.). Robert George and Gerard V. Bradley thus articulate the difference between homosexual acts on the one hand and heterosexual marital acts between fertile and even infertile spouses on the other:
The intrinsic point of sex in any marriage, fertile or not, is … the basic good of marriage itself, considered as a two-in-one-flesh communion of persons that is consummated and actualized by acts of the reproductive type. Such acts alone among sexual acts can be truly unitive, and thus marital, and marital acts, thus understood, have their intelligibility and value intrinsically, and not merely by virtue of their capacity to facilitate the realization of other goods. (ibid.)
15. Though these words might sting like salt on a wound, they are nevertheless the plain truth. Legalizing gay marriage means sanctifying behavior that is physically and mentally harmful, raising it to the level of normal, healthy marriage between one man and one woman. Do not support gay marriage, but instead, tell your friends about the negative consequences of homosexual behavior, things you might not hear in the mainstream media. Tell your friends that gay marriage is impossible because two members of the same sex cannot fulfill the purpose of marriage. Let us treat our gay friends with charity; there is no room for insulting humor, hatred, bullying, or violence. Let us, out of love, tell them the truth, and not sacrifice that truth for the sake of political correctness. Let us be merciful and not hypocritical, and let us strongly oppose and campaign against the use of the death penalty for homosexual behavior in Africa and the Middle East. Let us reach out and join hands with our gay friends and peers, working together towards living healthy lives for the common good.

Works Cited
  • Bayer, Ronald, Ph.D. Homosexuality and American Psychiatry: The Politics of Diagnosis. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987: 3-4.
  • Carpenter, Brent Dorian. "1049 Rights: What's at Stake for Gays in Same-Sex Marriage Debate." PrideSource 8 Jan. 2004. 20 Apr. 2009 .
  • Dallas, Joe. "Responding to Pro-Gay Theology." Leadership University. 8 Apr. 2009 .
  • Diggs Jr., John R., M.D. "The Health Risks of Gay Sex." Corporate Resource Council 2002. 11 Apr. 2009 .
  • Fitzgibbons, Rick, M.D. "Medical Downside of Homosexual Behavior." Zenit 18 Sept. 2003. 12 Apr. 2009 .
  • Foderaro, Lisa W. "Gay Marriage Begins in Connecticut." The New York Times 12 Nov. 2008. 20 Apr. 2009 .
  • Hosek, Linda. "Special Report." Honolulu Star-Bulletin 22 Jan. 1997. 20 Apr. 2009 .
  • "Increases in Unsafe Sex and Rectal Gonorrhea Among Men Who Have Sex With Men-- San Francisco, California, 1994-1997." Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 48.3 (1999). 24 Apr. 2009 .
  • Laumann, Edward O., et al. The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.
  • Marco, Anton N. Gay "Marriage?" Leadership University. 1999. 6 Apr. 2009 .
  • May, William E., Ph.D. "On the Impossibility of Same Sex Marriage." Catholic Medical Quarterly (2005). 24 Apr. 2009 .
  • Neff, David. "Two Men Don't Make A Right." Christianity Today 19 July 1993: 11-15.
  • Rauch, Jonathan. "Beyond Oppression." The New Republic 10 May 1993: 18-23.
  • Rekers, George A., Ph.D. "Same-Sex Marriage: Not in Kids' Interest." Zenit 21 May 2005. 12 Apr. 2009 .

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