A reader writes in to comment that the case for homosexual marriage is a conservative one. He says "I am attempting to point out to you that gay and lesbian people value marriage for the same reasons straight people do..."
With all due respect, I am not sure that this is the case. Some of the reasons for valuing marriage are in common, but others, equally weighty, are opposite.
A primary reason why I value marriage it that the institution acts as a hindrance to the Cuckoos egg's strategy of fathering a child to be raised by another man. Chastity avoids paternity questions. There is a secondary effect of diminishing male violence in competition over females, securing a father-mother pair for childrearing, and the mystical union of male and female. There is a tertiary effect of promoting self-command and discouraging hedonism. None of these reasons are served by pretending the vowed partnership of homosexuals is a mating-ritual equally worthy of respect as the vow of marriage.
(Indeed, I find it telling that each time I write an article against hedonism, some reader of mine feels it is pertinent to defend homosexuality. The two concepts are evidently linked, even in the minds of those who claim they are not linked.)
To secure to oneself the faithfulness of one's sodomy partner I will admit is a fine thing: certainly it is nobler to be consistent with one's catamite than to break his heart by dallying hither and yon. Likewise, I think pirates should keep their oaths they take to their vile articles of compact before they go buccaneering, and divide the spoils fairly. I have doubts about the wisdom of the long-term enterprise, but simple justice should require that men not lie to each other, and not betray each other, as this is as true for perverts as for pirates. A trusty pirate, I suppose, is better than a treacherous pirate: but it is better still not to be a pirate at all.
So granted that a trustworthy partner is better than an untrustworthy, let us look next to see whether we are talking about partners in an wholesome undertaking, or partners in unreason.
Logic tells me that a desire unrelated to the object of desire is illogical, such as when erotic love, which is the mating emotion, takes as its object a member of the sex with which one cannot mate. And likewise, when the object of erotic desire is immature, or dead, or of the wrong species, or related by blood, or any erotic affection attached not to symbols to the exclusion of attachment to persons: pederasty, necrophilia, bestiality, incest, fetishism.
Moral reasoning tells me that reason must govern passion, as the only other option is hedonism. Rejecting the hedonist philosophy leaves one with no justification to respect homosexuality, or any other sexual abnormality.
Accepting hedonism leaves one with no justification to disrespect incest or polygamy. Indeed, from a biological point of view, incest is more respectable than homosexuality: Oedipus can father Antigone on Jocasta, but Alcibiades cannot mate with Socrates, thrust however energetically he might in any orifice the great philosopher might present to him.
Again, I do not doubt that homosexuals can find a deep, true, and abiding unselfish love for each other. I merely regard this as tragic rather than as a cause for celebration. Their so-called marriage can never be consummated. They throw away the substance of love and feast on shadows.
This reader, and others, assure me that I am ignorant, homophobic, and prejudiced, because my conclusions do not match theirs. I can only speculate that they look into their own hearts and assess what it would take to get them to speak conclusions like mine: since nothing but hate would prompt them to condemn the law-abiding gay man, they assume my condemnation of the man's unfortunate self-indulgence is the condemnation of the man. Their hearts are not as my heart: what they would only say in the heat of hate, I say reluctantly in the cool of reason. If I have made an error in my reasoning, I will change my conclusion without delay once those errors are convincingly pointed out to me. In the meanwhile, it has no persuasive value to accuse me of motivations I do not have.
I assure you, dear reader, it is not ignorance which informs my conclusions. I have homosexuals both among family and coworkers, and families of my friends: and I have seen them ruin their lives, in two cases attempt suicide, in one case successfully. The one homosexual I know who seems to be happy and well-adjusted, ironically, is a celibate young man who converted to Catholicism.
I assure you it is not hatred, fear or "homophobia" or ignorance which informs my conclusions: and that for the simple reason that I regard my own sins, including my own sexual immorality, as far worse than a little bit of harmless buggery. Sins of pride are the worse of sins; sins of lust are the least. Erotic love, even between man and man, can bring out tenderness, unselfishness, and other noble passions which might otherwise might not develop. Honestly, it is worst to be a drunkard, or a man who gambles away the rent money, or a liar.
For that matter, I regard no-fault divorce as a bigger threat to the institution of marriage, and as a deeper and uglier wound in the body politic, than homosexual marriage. No one seems to be writing in to denounce me as an ignorant & bigoted "Divorcophobe", despite that my condemnation of this practice is much more severe and personal.
(For my fellow Christians, I note that while Moses condemned homosexuality and permitted divorce, Christ said nothing particular about homosexuality, and condemned divorce unambiguously. You generation of vipers! Let us remove the beam from our own marital malfeasance before trifling with the mote in our brother's.)
I assure you it is not prejudice which informs my conclusions. My migration to the camp of the anti-hedonists is recent. A few years ago, I was a supporter of the Bob Heinlein and Hugh Hefner view of sexual libertarianism. My anti-hedonist conclusions can be dismissed as wrongheaded, unreasonable, or even malicious, but they cannot justly be called a prejudice, because that word means a judgment before the facts are contemplated.
Ironically, it was Joss Whedon, famed glorifier of homosexuality, an advocate of its wholesomeness, who convinced me homosexuality was a perversion: had he and the other perversion advocates merely shut up, I would to this day have continued in my relaxed Heinleinianism. It was the mere absurdity of his advocacy that first drew my attention to the logical absurdity of the position he was propagating. My prejudice (and here I use the word correctly), my conclusion before I judged the facts, was that homosexuality was a harmless kink, and nobody's business but his own, if a man took pleasure in its pursuit.
Alas, there is no point in my repeating my logic; if it was not found convincing to the honorable opposition before, it will not be found convincing now. Instead I will tell a story.
On the planet Eddore is an asexual race: the Eddoreans reproduce by fission like amoeba. Prudence requires an Eddorean about to divide to make provision for his two new younger selves: the Eddorean custom is to make and provision and nest when he feels his asexual reproduction about to begin. The act of dividing produces exquisite pleasure in the Eddorians—without this evolutionary pleasure-mechanism, the Eddorians would fear the division of personality and memory that accompanies the physical fission when they reproduce. Because of the ferocious competition involved in nesting behavior, laws and customs have been devised by wise Eddoreans to protect the sanctity of the nest. There is a nesting ritual that an Eddorian undergoes when he is nearing his time of fission.
Because the fission process is difficult, those who undergo it according to certain times and conditions have their children awarded honors and dignities closed to those who refuse to divide.
It just so happens that the Eddorians can stimulate the same exquisite pleasure caused by asexual reproduction by chemically treating part of their amoeba bodies and having the treated part drop off. The discarded part is not a new individual, it is mere blob of dead flesh. This process sometimes causes a loathsome disease that maims or kills its host.
It also happens that certain of the Eddorians not only prefer this chemical dismemberment, but cannot achieve any pleasure from that asexual fission natural to their race. Throughout history they have been reviled by normal Eddorians, and given the name "Chemosexuals."
A revolution in manners and customs has recently overtaken the Eddorian society. Many of the old customs and laws surrounding nesting behaviors have been relaxed or abolished, with the result that insufficient care is taken of the young. Teen fission and orphaned split-offs are now commonplace, and the population is not reproducing at replacement rates. The diseases related to unsafe nesting practices are epidemic.
The Chemosexuals are now petitioning the All-Highest Ruler of Eddore to further modify the nesting customs so that they, and the blobs of dead flesh they shed, are treated with the same respect and circumspection as normal asexually-produced young. They are completely sincere and honest in saying the love-emotions and sexual-experiences they have toward their divisions are one and the same as those suffered by mainstream asexually-dividing Eddorians. They want to have the places where they perform their chemical amputations called "nests" and be given the same respect and sanctity Eddorians give other nests.
However the Chemosexuals are eager not to be likened to those Eddoreans who divide before their reproductive cycle is ready: premature division is regarded as grotesque and abnormal by all mainstream Eddorians. The Chemosexuals are also eager not to be likened to the barbarian tribesmen from their planet's equatorial regions who divide into three or four parts, instead of just the traditional two. These practices are called Pedofission fission and Polyfission. Unlike Chemofission, however, Polyfission always produces healthy (if undersized) offspring, and Pedofission sometimes, albeit rarely, produces healthy offspring.
Unfortunately, the Eddorians recently lost a war with Earth, and the All-Highest is slain, so the military regional governor from Earth has to make the decision.
His two choices are to categorize chemical fission with normal asexual reproduction, and award its practitioners nesting rights, or to categorize chemical fission with Pedofission fission and Polyfission, and deny those rights.
Earthmen are not asexual and have no sympathy or common experience with the reproductive practices of the Eddorians. The regional governor has to decide based on something other than his emotions, because his emotions are not fitted to the situation. He can only draw crude analogy to any Earthly practice.
The regional governor can only rest his decision on facts and logic. How should he decide? What should be the grounds of his decision?