When did it change?

A reader brought to my attention this post over at First Things


Which comments on this article at the New York Times


New research at San Francisco State University reveals just how common open relationships are among gay men and lesbians in the Bay Area. The Gay Couples Study has followed 556 male couples for three years — about 50 percent of those surveyed have sex outside their relationships, with the knowledge and approval of their partners.

That consent is key. “With straight people, it’s called affairs or cheating,” said Colleen Hoff, the study’s principal investigator, “but with gay people it does not have such negative connotations.”

My comments: I think this is a weak argument, perhaps the weakest, against gay marriage. The argument basically supposes that the gays (or, rather, the Leftwingers who flatter themselves by posing as champions for the gays) don’t really want marriage, they just want the social dignity that marriage confers, not the responsibility.

This argument is hard to make for three reasons: 

First, why should I believe a stranger over an eyewitness? If a gay man tells me he wants to marry his gay lover, what credence can I place on some stranger who testifies to the opposite?

This is such an obvious stumbling block for arguments not just on this topic but on any topic where we are asked to interpret evidence differently than those who have actually seen the evidence, or believe something (usually something condescending) about the state of mind of someone whose state of mind is known only to himself, I wish it had a concise Latin name. (Argumentum Ad Youdontknowwhatthehellyourtalkingabouticum is an awkward phrase.)

Second, the argument also supposes that if society grants to the gays the legal recognition of their (let us not mince words) abomination as if it were holy matrimony, that the gays will somehow abuse marriage to bring disrespect to the institution. Without defending my own opinion on the matter, let me just drop the hint that the institution has already been brought into severe and notorious disrespect by the heterosexuals, and this was done by no-fault divorce laws, and by casual sex, and by casual adultery, and by social acceptance of practices condemned by the Church since days beyond memory, and, until recently, by all denominations. If we want to talk about abominations, I would point out that, no matter what the drawbacks of homosexuality, the homosexuals are not the ones in this society piling up little corpses and dismembered tiny limbs and skulls punctured with scissors behind abortion mills. Aborticide is a heterosexual phenomenon. 

In fairness, however, the argument that the institution is ruined and shabby and therefore can be thrown to the homosexuals as scraps to dogs is no less an insult to them as to the institution: let us disregard that argument as unworthy to discuss, heed or refute.  

Third, no one would argue that if everyone in the neighborhood but me and my bride were fornicating like bigamous weasels, a prudent magistrate would forbid legal recognition of marriage to me and my bride. How is my right to get married barred, or even influenced, by the misuse others make of their rights? If I lived in a neighborhood of slanderers, would a prudent lawmaker take away from me the right to freedom of the speech? Or would he merely punish slander?

If we as a society truly wish to defy logic and reality and grant the homosexuals the legal right to pretend that their sexual alliance is the same as marriage and can be called by that name, then let us be consistent about it, and enforce the laws (which are probably still on the books in your jurisdiction) that punish fornication and adultery. Let us repeal no-fault divorce. If nothing else, this would silence the critics who object to gay marriage on the grounds that gays would abuse it.

My experience (which may not be typical) is that the gays I know personally do not care a fig about gay marriage, and the heterosexual Leftists who adhere most thoughtlessly and passionately to the party line care passionately.

This experience has perhaps jaundiced my view of the whole matter: it always sounds slightly insincere to me that Leftists who care for nothing but defying the law want the gays to be brought into the rigor and discipline of marriage, and to suffer social stigma and stern legal penalty if one partner, even with his lover’s permission, strays into adultery or what is euphemistically called extramarital sex.

Of course I am kidding. No committed Leftist would support extending the dignity and limitations of real marriage to anyone. Real marriage means devotion, discipline, sacrifice, honor, obedience — all that uncool stuff free men like. Committed Leftists want only liberty in the libertine sense: freedom from reality, from honor, from obedience, from sacrifice. Sacrifices are what taxpayers and employers make: freedom (for the Left) consists of cost-free goodies from our Sugar Daddy Uncle Sam and guilt-free self indulgence.

Only now in the modern day, when marriage has become an almost meaningless way to celebrate live-in lovers deciding to make a further commitment (which shall last until the wife is bored or the husband wants a younger model) does the Left want to confer a the now-burden-free privileges of marriage on abnormal sexual unions, perhaps out of a heavenly desire to rectify an injustice, or perhaps out of a hellish desire to abolish the distinction between right and wrong, normal and deviant, rational and perverse.

Perhaps my suspicions betray a narrowness of soul on my part, but I am reminded of a ‘truther’ I know, who thinks steel does not melt and that the government killed everyone in the Twin Towers, who is also a passionate supporter of socialized medicine, because she trusts that same government of murderous sociopath semi-Nazis who committed 9/11 to mend and tend the survivors of 9/11 back to full health, without wasting taxpayer’s money. She has a split-personality approach to the state. It is a devil when the state makes a demand based on reality to her, such as that we should unify against a common enemy; and it is an angel when the state offers a benefit based on unreality to her, such as health care that is both free of charge, a burden only to other taxpayers, suffering no loss of service or quality, without rationing or waiting lines or death panels. The Leftists seem to me to have this same split-personality approach to marriage: they would be the first to decry the unfairness of putting a gay man who (with his partner’s full consent) sodomized a third fellow behind bars, nor would they think it fair to subject heterosexual couples to this same strictness. Marriage to the Left is a devil when it makes a demand.

Entirely separate from all these arguments is the argument that legalizing gay marriage will establish a legal precedent allowing any combination of people in any numbers, of any age or consanguinity, to wed. That argument seems to me to be reasonable and telling, since to resist it the Left (at least the ones I have heard) resort to screaming like banshees and shrieking like women in labor in order to get across the point that gay marriage will not produce a legal precedent for incestuous marriages or polygamy. The Left now take it as doctrine that there is no distinction between heterosexuality and homosexuality, but that homosexuality is clearly and remarkably distinct from fetishism, sadomasochism, pedophilia, necrophilia, bestiality, incest. 

This screaming and shrieking is less than perfectly persuasive to me. I have yet to hear a legal argument, one which cites a case or a legal principle, or refers to any controlling law, statute, or even dicta of an opinion to support it. There are many clever devotees of the Left in the world: I am sure someone has cobbled together a legal case: I merely report that I have not heard it. 

Such an argument would face an uphill climb. The fact of the matter is that both incestuous marriages (as between Egyptian royalty, for example) and polygamy enjoy ancient or modern examples outside Christendom. A homosexual marriage has neverbeen recognized under any sort of law ancient or modern. References to medieval documents concerning oaths of brotherhood do not fit this category. In other words, there is legal precedent for other deviant forms of marriage, including Mohammad wedding a child bride, and Solomon keeping a thousand wives and concubines–we need not even go so far afield as Utah for this precedent.

My libertarian friends, with more logic on their side, argue that homosexual marriage should be allowed for the same reason any sort of marriage, including polygamy and incest, should be allowed, provided only that the persons involved are competent to make a contract. This betrays a charming innocence about human nature: I suppose not everyone has talked to a man who killed another man over a woman. I have, and, once again, perhaps this jaundices my view of the matter. 

I notice in my own experience that even asking the grounds on which homosexuality is to be distinguished from other deviant or illicit sexual practices evoke a flood of controversy — if we can dignify a spate of tedious yet unimaginative name-calling and hate mail by that term — as if the non-perverse nature of homosexuality is now the central axiom of the current antinomian argument.

This is an continues to be surprising to me, since, when I was young, the axiom of the argument was that sexual deviations harmed no one, and therefore should be permitted in all cases where mutual consent was tendered.  The argument in other words was not that homosexuality was not perverse; to the contrary, the argument as I understood it was that since homosexuality was not harmful, society had no business being judgmental about it, despite that it was perverse.

When I was young, the promise of the movement was that all the so called perverts were going to come out the closet together, because society would make sexual preferences a private matter: there would be no such thing as perversion any more, the word would lose all meaning.  At some point in recent years, that changed, and the homosexuals are being permitted out of the closet only on the grounds that the other deviants be kept in, and all the stigma which once was shared by homosexuals and others now attaches only to non-homosexual flavors of nonstandard sexual practice.

Whether or not this constitutes a shameless betrayal of whatever the sexual liberation movement once stood for, is not a question whose answer I am  curious to know. What I am curious to know is when and on what grounds the change happened. Or perhaps I misunderstood what was the platform of the sexual liberation movement, as regards to sexual deviation — I thought it was "whatever floats your boat, provided all parties consent" not "Gays and straights are healthy and normal, and the rest of ya’ll are sick and wrong and shut up."

When did it change?