This comes from my atheism blog on Google blogs.

"The humanity of all Americans is diminished when any group is denied rights granted to others" [Julian Bond].
What do Christians have to fear from letting gay people express their love and devotion to one another ? Nothing actually. The love two people feel for one another, the sex of two consenting adults, whether heterosexual or homosexual, does me no harm in the least. What two consenting adults feel for one another or do together, as long as it harms no one else, is none of my business. And it's none of your business either.
I'm a heterosexual male. That's the way I was born. I do not choose to be heterosexual, I just am. That's the way it is. Being homosexual is, likewise, not a choice. Homosexual men and lesbian women were born that way. I could no more have sex with another male as I could with a horse (which, by the way, I believe is actually legal in 23 states, while same sex marriage is, I think only legal in eight or nine states). It is true that some homosexual men can be pedophiles, but so can some priests, and so can some heterosexual males. That fact doesn't reflect on all homosexuals, priests, or heterosexual males.
The Bible is a Bronze Age book written by a bunch of zenophobic and primitive goat herders, and it contains some strange and insane rules. Dressing in garments made of two or more fabrics is said to be a sin in the Bible. That's ridiculous. As everyone who may read my blog should know by now, I am an atheist. I do not believe in the concept of sin. I do believe in values and in morals, but as standards and not sanctions.
There is nothing intrinsically sinful about being gay, there's nothing even immoral about it, as long as it is between two consenting adults who love one another. Have some empathy. How would you like to be denied the right to marry the woman you love, or the man you love ? Gay men and women are human beings, and they should have the same rights as any other human. Marriage should not be viewed as a privilege given, but as a right by virtue of being human and knowing love.

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Tags: Gay, Homosexuality, Marriage, Rights

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Comment by Luara on June 29, 2013 at 9:30am

There is research showing that boys are more likely to be gay, the more older brothers their biological mother carried -- this was independent of how many siblings boys grew up with, pointing to prenatal hormones as a factor.

I don't see how such research would imply this.  You can easily see a psychosocial element - that if a boy has an older brother, they might be attracted to guys who remind them of their brother.

There does not seem to be at all convincing evidence that people are "born gay", even including hormones in the womb.  Even if "born gay" could be defined.  Which it can't.  All you can say is that at a given time, someone has predominantly gay or straight sexuality.  "Born gay" is an abstraction.  

Moreover I don't see anything negative about the malleability of human sexuality. 

Women's sexuality is generally more fluid than men's.  I think lesbian sexuality is partly based on the bond a girl baby had with her mother. 

Comment by Luara on June 29, 2013 at 9:09am

Actually given our huge population problem, we probably should be encouraging gayness, not discouraging it. 

Since being gay is a failsafe contraceptive :)

Comment by Luara on June 29, 2013 at 8:59am

GC,

It causes psychological pain to shame people for their consensual sexuality.  Unnecessary given that a lot of people find that being gay works for them. 

But what I was also saying, is that the "born gay" concept is incoherent because of all the psychological and social influences on someone's sexuality - on both their sexual actions and sexual feelings.  "I'm inherently gay" or "I'm inherently straight" is a construct that exists in someone's mind, and not something with an objectively reality.  It's a subjective perception and I don't see how it could be verified as an objective reality. 

Unfortunately the "you are free to be who you want to be" idea is not a practical reality among gays and lesbians.  The "born gay" idea could and does put a person in a box - as a reaction to anti-gay social pressures.   I think that putting themselves in that box could be negative for gay people. 

You're right that childhood gender non-conformity could be partly from hormonal or genetic causes.  However it probably also relates to which parent one chooses to identify with, the intensity to which gender roles are enforced in the society, etc. 

Comment by Grinning Cat on June 29, 2013 at 8:44am

What the Wikipedia article discusses are correlations, not necessarily influences or causes. "Researchers have found childhood gender nonconformity to be the largest predictor of homosexuality in adulthood." Maybe fathers become more distant from sons who later turn out to be gay because they don't conform to how boys "should" act and feel.

(Demanding freedom from the narrow, traditional, heterosexist, cisgenderist, "your genitals determine your role", "boy/man" or "girl/woman" boxes is precisely the common thread among LGBTQIA etc... / FABGLITTER / QUILTBAG / <initialism of choice> people.)

There is research showing that boys are more likely to be gay, the more older brothers their biological mother carried -- this was independent of how many siblings boys grew up with, pointing to prenatal hormones as a factor.

Lots of men in prison find themselves situationally bisexual.

Luara, you're right that whatever the mechanisms that shape sexual orientation, there's no excuse for a "you should be straight" agenda! As I tell people, even if it were a "choice", so what. Someone's religion, or lack thereof, is arguably more of a "choice", yet more people respect that.

Comment by Luara on June 29, 2013 at 8:26am

Also, whether someone leads a gay or straight life depends a great deal on the society around them and their psychology - maybe they repress an attraction to the same sex.  Some feminists repress and discount their sexual attractions to men, choosing for political reasons to be involved with women only.

So, claiming that people are "born gay" involves a belief that someone is "actually gay" even though they might be repressing it, or living a heterosexual lifestyle. 

This is a claim that is very difficult to prove, given the societal and personal influences.  It's something people can believe about themselves at some stage in their lives, but that doesn't give it reality. 

Comment by Luara on June 29, 2013 at 8:13am

Loren,

Here is the Wikipedia article on environmental influences on sexual orientation

Many influences are listed:

- childhood gender non-conformity

- family influences such as:

which parent the child is closer to, e.g. if a boy is closer to his mother he's more likely to become gay (presumably through identifying with her).  At least, Wikipedia cites sources supporting this for gay men.  I think this is probably true for lesbians as well.

gay people tend to come from families where there are more children

if a boy has an older brother he's more likely to become gay

someone growing up in an urban area is more likely to become gay, than if they grow up in a rural area. 

Also, from the American Psychiatric Assoc.,

"Some people believe that sexual orientation is innate and fixed; however, sexual orientation develops across a person’s lifetime. Individuals maybe become aware at different points in their lives that they are heterosexual, gay, lesbian, or bisexual."

So no, it isn't something a person is born with either.

It may be difficult for someone to change their sexual orientation in therapy, but this is true for trying to make ANY fundamental change in therapy. 

Lots of people turn gay in prison, and they may continue with that lifestyle after getting out of prison - decide they like it that way. 

I don't see the environmental influences as negative for gay people.  The truth about this is important for any gay (or straight) person to know.  The environmental influences seem to have been used by conservative and fundamentalist groups to promote a "you should be straight" agenda.  Some feminist groups promote a "you should be lesbian" agenda.  This can have the negative effect of making gay people believe they were "just born that way" in order to resist the social pressures. 

Comment by Loren Miller on June 28, 2013 at 2:51pm

I NEVER said "genetic."  I said, "born, not made."  This is illustrated by a CBS News 60 Minutes piece (Part1 - Part 2) done by Lesley Stahl, which involved a study of identical twins.  In her piece, Ms. Stahl highlighted two such sets of twins, wherein one of the twins was straight and the other gay, or at least where the behavior is indicative of such an orientation.

I'm listening to the piece right now, and the whole argument of nurture is completely rejected.  The current hypothesis involves hormonal gradients in the womb before birth as a possible explanation.  My suggestion is to have a look at the 60 Minutes piece.  It is hardly comprehensive, but it's a window in to something that is by no means simple.

Comment by Luara on June 28, 2013 at 1:34pm

the vast majority of evidence points to gay men and Lesbian women being BORN, not MADE.

So you claim the evidence shows sexual orientation is 100% genetic? 

I doubt this very much. 

It would be hard to prove such a thing anyway - even if you looked at the sexual orientation of identical twins raised apart, the society around them would be similar. 

I can believe that sexual orientation is partly genetic.  But stating that it's totally genetic contradicts my experience, including the example of Sonia Johnson.  It seems like one of those things people believe because if gay-ness is genetic, this emphatically gives the lie to the social pressure to be straight. 

I'm all for gay people and anyone, being gay if that is their choice.  But denying the influence of environment and culture and family upbringing in someone's sexual orientation is probably just wrong.  There's malleability in people's sexuality.  Perhaps this is especially true for women.

What turns people on is partly learned, in other words. 

Comment by Loren Miller on June 28, 2013 at 9:28am

Luara, to my understanding, the vast majority of evidence points to gay men and Lesbian women being BORN, not MADE.  That notwithstanding, presuming that one's sexual orientation is not dangerously disruptive to the society it occurs in (and IMHO, it isn't), then the premise of this post remains valid.

People have the right to be gay ... or straight ... or bisexual ... or transgendered ... and those who would argue against that right need to justify their position with some substantial, objective arguments.  To date, no such argument has been posited, mostly I suspect because no such argument exists!

Comment by Luara on June 28, 2013 at 9:15am

Homosexual men and lesbian women were born that way.

People repeat this as an article of faith and I doubt such convenient "truths".

Sexual orientation is a psychosocial matter for a lot of people.  People may choose to be gay because it works better for them to be with someone who is similar to themselves; or masculine women and feminine men may find it works better to be gay. 

Sonia Johnson, the ex-Mormon turned feminist, wrote about becoming a lesbian.  The society that people are in, influences the sexual desires they experience. 

There are some people who are attracted ONLY to one sex, but most of us are somewhere in-between heterosexual and homosexual. 

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