4 thoughts on “Good news — South Africa to legalize gay marriage within one year”

  1. How ironic that this news comes on World AIDS Day, 2005. If you hear a squishing sound today, it is most likely the sound of thousands of conservatives biting their tongues, attempting repress non-P.C. comments about the correlation between huge percentage of AIDS cases and the high level of sexual immorality that is now being sanctioned by the South African government. No, not good news. Bad news.

    Oops. Forgot to bite my tongue.

  2. That’s interesting… I thought that encouraging monogamy (whether one is a gay or straight) is a good way to stop the spread of AIDS.

    I’m not sure if legalizing marriage is going to change behavior (if a couple is committed to monogamy, they will do that whether they can legally marry or not), but I would think at least having this legally would encourage good behavior.

  3. I can see your point here. But, the idea that legalizing gay marriage encourages better sexual behavior is an extremely optimistic one. One of the better places to study the societal impact of same-sex marriage is Scandinavia, since it has been legal there for comparatively longer than most places. But, the studies of Scandinavia show that what would be considered good, monogamous behavior has actually worsened since the legalization of gay marriage. This is not to say that there is direct causality, but the fact remains that behavior certainly has not taken a turn for the better.
    I think our main disagreement really lies with whether same sex relationships are wrong in the first place. I see this as a sort of parallel: Before Roe v. Wade, one major pro-abortion argument was that legalizing abortion would make it more safe, because people would do it anyway, but with dirty utensils in back-alleys. Of course an obvious argument against this would be that legalizing abortions would astronomically increase the number of abortions and make it more socially acceptable. Higher abortion rates would lead to more women with health complications and more unnecessary deaths, etc. So I guess what I’m saying is, if you think homosexual relationships are wrong to begin with, then you might be inclined to 1.) disagree with the idea that legalizing same-sex marriage leads to fewer AIDS-spreading incidents and 2.) think that legalizing same-sex marriage would increase society’s propensity toward AIDS-spreading incidents.

  4. I have heard about the Scandinavian research but haven’t read it myself. Sometime down the road when I have time, I’ll have to take a loot at it. I do know this though that Scandinavia (well at least Sweden, which is what I know a little bit from a friend who grew up there) also has rampant pornography (on tv and just about everywhere else) which I suspect has a bigger role in encouraging promiscuity than whether folks can or can’t marry.

    But, the core issue (whether same-sex relationships are right or wrong) is probably where you and I differ. I once believed strongly that homosexuality was a sin (and that one should love the sinner, but hate the sin), but now do not believe that homosexuality in and of itself is wrong.

    The rationale for this is that I don’t believe God would make something a sin, if one had no choice about it, which raise the questions as to whether sexual orientation is in fact an issue of nature or environment. Like everything in human psychology, clarity is hard to come by (and I think the scentific research is still in question), but at least antecdotally I am convinced that for many folks, sexual orientation is something one is born with. I have several friends (from law school and from political activism work) who are gay, and for them their orientation is something that I always knew deep down inside. They simply were attracted to people of the same gender, since the time they were old enough to experience sexual/emotional attraction.

    Also for whatever it is worth, I’ve known some people who were not born that way but are happy that way now (this isn’t my judgment, but is what they themselves tell me). Maybe (and I emphasize maybe), that for those folks sexuality is a choice, but the folks I’ve known who are like this are the minority.

    All of that said though, from the standpoint of morality and ethics, I look instead to how our actions affect others. I know folks claim otherwise, but I have not met anyone who truly is secure in themselves and is happy, who sleeps around (gay or straight), and I think that if folks are honest with themselves, sex outside of a committed relationship (i.e. marriage) ends up being about using someone. I’ve been there and done that, and in my experience (which is admittedly very limited), sex outside the context of committed love is unsatisfying and at least for me is wrong, which is why I’ve chosen to be celibate for this season of my life.

    So I guess that is why I think that committed monogamy is a good thing, and is what human beings were made for. I’m not, however, convinced that heterosexual monogamy is what human beings are made for, because there’s a good size percentage (the number is debated, my guess is somewhere around 2-5%) of folks who are gay. This large of a number I think is proof that this is how some folks are wired, and for whatever reason (which is beyond our understanding) this is how God intended it to be.

    All of that said, I can see that if you believe same-sex relationships are wrong, that one would see that the societal acceptance of one kind of immorality might lead to more immorality in other ways. The logic does make sense, I just don’t share your operating thesis.

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