Arguments 7 and 8 against homosexual "marriage":
7. It seals us in a culture of divorce.
In the United States, nearly half of all marriages will end in divorce. It is hard to see how any community can survive the resulting breaking up of homes, the smashing of friendships, the jumble and shuffle of neighborhoods, and the underlying assumption that human beings are not to be trusted. Social science has finally come round to showing just a bit of what we all ought to have known anyway: divorce is deeply damaging to the family and to the community. Boys who grow up apart from their fathers are many times more likely to fall prey to drugs and crime; girls, to seek male affirmation elsewhere and bear children out of wedlock. Spend a little time getting to know the destroyed lives of a few of the millions of young men in prison, and then try to defend divorce -- or the habit in some communities of never forming a marriage in the first place.
Once again, we were told by the social reformers, this time the falsely named “conservative” reformers, that divorce laws were outdated and cruel, often compelling people who wanted to break up to manufacture ugly accusations against one another, just to procure the divorce. We were told that the reform of the laws would not increase the incidence of divorce -- since those who were going to divorce would do so eventually in any case. But it would save a great deal of human misery.
And again, that is exactly what the no-fault divorce laws failed to do. Divorce swept the land like a plague, and brought untold misery in its wake. And no-fault is patently unjust: very often it subjects the wronged party to the whim of the guilty; it rules out of bounds the most commonsense considerations in matters of the custody of children; and it reduces marriage to a status some miles below that of a business contract. If one partner at a gas station embezzles funds and uses them to buy stock in the competition, does he get to claim half of the original station? Does she get to compel her partner to provide her support as she buys even more stock? Would not such malfeasance land you in jail? Why do we take the ownership of corporations more seriously than the establishment of coherent families?
Any statesman must see that we cannot continue this way. At the basis of all civilization lies trust: I must believe that the people driving down the road will stay on their own side of the yellow line. If I did not believe that, and believe it with something approaching absolute certainty, I could not drive. Divorce begins by undermining trust in marriage (and that is bad enough, given our plummeting birth rates), and ends by undermining trust altogether. We must retrace our steps: we must bring some semblance of justice back to divorce law.
But how can we do this, while legalizing homosexual “marriage”? Again, the principle for the legalization is simply that people have a right to “fulfill” themselves sexually. But some marriages are unhappy -- or some people who are married come to think that it would be more “fulfilling” to leap over the fence. How can we deny them this? Or how can we blame them for it? How can we penalize the breaker of a family, when his or her motives are exactly the same as those we have blessed in the case of the homosexual?
And what about homosexual adultery? We have been informed by the homosexual activists themselves that people’s expectations in this regard will have to change. Male homosexuals do not remain faithful to one another, in the sense that they do not so severely restrict their sexual activity. But if a certain looseness is granted to the male homosexual, when his jealous lover chooses to “divorce” him, why should the same benefit not be accorded the male heterosexual?
The argument that the availability of marriage would encourage monogamy among homosexuals, while not affecting heterosexuals at all, is particularly specious. It assumes, first, that marriage is what the homosexuals seek, rather than the status of normality that marriage confers. In so doing it misconstrues the nature of the homosexual relationship (see below), and threatens the already embattled institution of marriage with a new barrage of divorces, custody litigation, and an expensive and morally disastrous “right” to manufacture children. The bases for marriage and homosexual union are, however, fundamentally incompatible. The former is based upon the very structure of our bodies, upon biological and anthropological fact. The latter is based, as is the sexual revolution, upon will alone. In practice it must accelerate the destruction of marriage; its principle, or rather the false principle that made homosexual “marriage” conceivable in the first place, is all the poison that is needed.
8. It normalizes an abnormal behavior.
That it is an abnormal behavior is clear to any disinterested observer. It hardly needs mentioning that the male and female bodies are made for one another, in obvious ways, and in more subtle ways which medical science is only beginning to discover.
I will discuss below what causes the behavior. For the moment, let us remember what is required of a scientific theory. It should explain the evidence -- all of it, not just the evidence the theorist finds convenient. It should not embroil the theorist in thornier questions than the one he seeks to answer. It should be coherent with other accepted theories. It should be fruitful: that is, if the theory is correct, it should help explain many other related phenomena. It should be based on few assumptions, and those assumptions should be easy to claim.
Now the theory that homosexuality is caused by one’s genes is based on the simple, though shaky, assumption that human behavior is wholly determined by genetics. Otherwise it violates every qualification for sound science.
First, it does not explain the evidence. That evidence shows that homosexual activity is far more prevalent among some cultures than among others; that in the same culture it is more prevalent among some groups than among others (for instance, living in the countryside places the boy at a significantly lower risk of experiencing serious homosexual attraction); that some people spend years engaging in homosexual activity and then give it up, often becoming happily married (John Maynard Keynes was one). At best, the theorist must retreat and say that there may be a genetic predisposition to homosexual behavior; but there may also be a genetic predisposition to crime, or to alcoholism, or to any number of human weaknesses and aberrancies. The possession of a certain gene for alcoholism is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for one’s becoming an alcoholic. You can be dry with it, and alcoholic without it.
Second, it embroils the theorist in an odd dilemma. If he affirms that such a gene is passed along by heredity, then it seems hard to believe that it would have survived after the thousands or millions of years the human race has been in existence. Put it this way: suppose there is a gene for celibacy. Would that gene not die out the faster, precisely insofar as it determined its possessor to a life of celibacy? To the extent that a “gay” gene is determinative, to that same extent it suffers under the mathematical power of natural selection, since people who do not possess that gene will have many more children than people who do. To the extent that it only nudges human behavior rather than determining it, to that same extent it will vanish from the gene pool less quickly -- but then it is incoherent to talk about it as if it were really a “gay” gene. And it is utterly implausible to suppose that millions of mutations of exactly the same sort pop up in the United States with every generation.
Third, it runs counter to the leftist notion, loudly proclaimed in academe, that sexual behavior is “socially conditioned.” Thus, despite the plain fact that some boys seem to know how to take machines apart and put them together again without ever being taught, or that boys in every culture have invented rough games, or that in every culture young men commit the bulk of the violent crimes -- all this is to be explained by social conditioning, occurring magically in the same ways in several thousand cultures that we have knowledge of, cultures in every part of the world and at every conceivable stage of technological development. The only thing that the left now believes is genetically determined is precisely the aberrant behavior for which it is implausible to suppose that any gene could long remain in the gene pool!
Fourth, the theory is not fruitful. It really explains nothing: it is a kind of deus ex machina, brought on stage to clinch an argument by appeal to higher authority. It does not explain why male homosexuals engage in a promiscuity that beggars the imagination. It does not explain their preponderant use of pornography. It does not explain the masochism and sadism that are so marked a part of the lifestyle. It does not explain the anonymous or group sex, or the precoccupation with bathrooms. It does not explain a host of psychological syndromes heavily represented among gay men, including narcissism, self-mutilation, coprophilia, drug use, alcoholism, exhibitionism, and suicide. It does not explain why the bizarre behaviors are more prevalent in places where homosexuality is the more tolerated. It does not explain the male homosexual cult of youth -- more about that below. Most damningly, it does not explain the compulsiveness of the male homosexual, a compulsiveness tacitly admitted by the name of the Catholic group Courage, a group of men attracted to other men and struggling to live celibate lives. Male heterosexuals do not need courage to remain chaste: simple continence will do. Something additional must beset those who require courage to keep from having sexual intercourse.
Before the current wave of political advocacy, many psychologists who studied homosexual men did come to some plausible conclusions about the same-sex attraction. From their studies and from what I know about the nature of boys, I offer the following alternative theory to explain male homosexuality.
I accept the word of male homosexuals who say that they have always felt attracted to other males. There is no reason to doubt them on this. They believe that this attraction makes them different from their brothers -- and this is where they go wrong. The plain fact is that all boys have a deep need (again, this is something hard to explain to women) for male acceptance and affirmation. All boys are attracted to the athletic, the popular, the gregarious, the cheerful, the clever boy, or man, as the case may be. This need is expressed in various ways: sometimes by shutting girls out of the club; sometimes by horseplay; sometimes by the violent high spirits of a gang; sometimes by initiation rites involving blood; sometimes by sworn devotion to a higher cause. In every boy there is a strain of the Tom Sawyer who organizes the other boys around him, or of the boys who look to a Tom Sawyer. The art of every culture testifies to these powerful (and difficult) friendships: Gilgamesh, Huckleberry Finn, David Copperfield, Kidnapped, The Iliad, Star Wars.
That is the single assumption I make; and even homosexuals unwittingly testify to it. From it, all else follows. For suppose the boy has a cruel father, who makes fun of him for being slow or fat or clumsy. Or suppose the boy is naturally shy, and is rejected by the local boys -- and can only watch their rough games resentfully yet longingly from the kitchen window. Or suppose the boy’s older brothers ignore him, and he watches in envy as they catch the football or flirt with the pretty girl. Whatever the cause, suppose a boy who is rejected by the most important males in his life: the neighborhood boys, or his brothers, or, most perilously, his father.
The longing for male companionship does not go away; and remember, the boyish friendship is expressed with an active and frank physicality. What happens now may depend on other factors: the presence of some one friend in whom he can trust, or a loving father who will make rejection by the other boys pale in importance. Failing that, the boy must struggle on his own to define himself as a boy, or must accept that he “deserves” to be rejected by the others, because he is not a real boy. This struggle is for the central fact of the boy’s existence -- and that too is unwittingly supported by homosexuals, who alone among people of all kinds of sexual habits associate their very identities with their longings.
Soon enough, the boy reaches puberty, and the longing assumes a new character, influenced by the boy’s new capacity for sexual arousal and his developing, and often chaotic, feelings of sexual desire. The same kind of bodily fooleries that help form the identity of other boys -- for instance, nude bathing or semi-public urination or the common shower after an athletic contest -- become for him moments of great dread, or desire, or both at once. Hence the compulsiveness of the homosexual’s behavior: like other compulsives, he scratches at a wound that will not heal; he visits again and again the site of the painful memory; he aches to fulfill a longing whose source he can no longer rightly recognize. Most boys grow out of this silly stage; the homosexual, who was denied the chance to undergo it in the normal way, returns to it, as if compelled. Hence the exhibitionism and other forms of public behavior that one might expect in a prepubescent boy -- if the boy were deeply disturbed.
What the male homosexual longs for, sexually, is what every male needs, and that is simply affirmation by other men. It is to know that you belong, you are a man, you can be relied on in a fight, you have what it takes. If a boy is given this affirmation, then, barring a rape or something else unspeakably bizarre, he will not become a homosexual. This too is a plain fact: it is a sufficient condition for the nonappearance of the syndrome. If a father affirms his son physically (for the rough touch of a good father’s love is never forgotten by the son), then the son will identify with the father. He will know he is a boy, to follow his father in marrying a woman and having children by her.
Thus male homosexuality is a corruption not of the relations between men and women, but of the relations between men and men: it is an aberrant eroticization of male friendship. And that explains the unimaginable promiscuity. What a man seeks in a woman is not what he seeks in a man. Husband and wife may be “friends,” but in the first instance they are both less and more than that. My wife is not an alter ego; we do not stand side by side to conquer the world. But I find in her what I lack in myself. She is the mysterious one who is not like me; and my love for her is quite unlike my love for my friend, who is like me. There is nothing casual about marriage, but friendship descends from the summit all the way down to pleasant and passing acquaintances. If it is friendship that male homosexuals seek, then we might predict many of their otherwise inexplicable behaviors. Friendship is not exclusive; one can never have too many friends; friendship is often celebrated best in boisterous groups; to live even a week or two without the feeling that one has a friend is agonizingly lonely.
But the hope that homosexual relations can ever really fulfill that need for the affirming friend is, in the end, delusive. The homosexual knows better than anyone that something has gone awry with him; hence his own vacillation between insisting that he is normal, and his flaunting of behavior that if performed by anyone else in any other situation he himself would despise. “Queer Theory” -- the sad name speaks volumes.